Civil organizations demand destitution of Fishery Department Director over vaquita case

The actions of the Federal Department under his charge have fostered the extinction of the rare vaquita species, according to the organizations
Marina vaquita, native to the Gulf of California - File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
29/08/2017
11:03
Perla Miranda
Mexico City
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In the last five years, the National Commission of Aquaculture and Fisheries (CONAPESCA) and the National Fisheries Institute (INAPESCA) have allowed actions to the detriment of the marine vaquita species, fostering its extinction, according to civil society organizations, reason why they demand the director of the federal departments to be removed from his charge.

During a press conference, María Elena Sánchez de Teyeliz, environmental expert, explained that the population of the vaquita is currently less than 30 individuals because CONAPESCA, directed by Mario Aguilar, has obstructed national and international regulations, laws, and Government programs seeking to preserve this rare species.

Juan Carlos Cantú, representative of Defenders of Wildlife said the vaquita has never been a species hunted for trading purposes, which is why fishing authorities have disregarded its extinction. “If the vaquita becomes extinct, the problem will be solved; there will be no more guidelines or laws to worry about.”

Miguel Rivas from Greenpeace claims that during the administration of Mario Aguilar, the closed season of 8 protected species, among them, the Gulf weakfish, weren't duly observed. This was a factor that has contributed to the endangerment of the vaquita and shows the negligence of the department because the Gulf weakfish fishing is considered a critical activity for the vaquita, and from 2012 to 2017 the fishing of the Gulf weakfish increased 86%, when the programs and regulations recommended a decrease of fishing activities in the area.

The organizations demand that Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto orders the immediate destitution of Mario Aguilar and the president of INAPESCA; the immediate update of the National Fishery Chart; and the return of the fishing sector to the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), “so that a public policy on sustainable fishing can be developed, taking into account the communities and ensuring the protection of our oceans and their resources, to prevent cases like the vaquita.”

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