Thursday, July 7, 2016

Aquarium of the Pacific Hosts International Save the Vaquita Day July 9th Be Wise to What You CAN Do to Help

THE AQUARIUM OF THE PACIFIC WILL PARTICIPATE IN INTERNATIONAL SAVE THE VAQUITA DAY JULY 9

On International Save the Vaquita Day the Aquarium of the Pacific will be holding an event to bring light to the plight of Vaquita.


WHAT: You can help the Aquarium of the Pacific protect a critically endangered species and spread the message of conservation on International Save the Vaquita Day and beyond. Found only in the northern part of the Gulf of California, Mexico, the vaquita porpoise is the world’s most endangered marine mammal. Only about sixty vaquitas remain, according to a report by the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (CIRVA).

The Aquarium will host activities and education booths to build public awareness of the vaquita and the threats that have brought it to the brink of extinction. The Aquarium of the Pacific and a team of aquariums and zoos across the country are asking the public to get involved in a campaign to help this animal, the smallest cetacean (whale, dolphin, or porpoise) on the planet. The current vaquita population represents a decline of more than 92 percent since 1997. Unless Mexico extends the gillnet ban enacted in 2015 and enforces regulations to stop illegal fishing, the vaquita will be driven to extinction within five years, according to CIRVA.
Aquarium guests can support vaquita conservation by sharing the vaquita psa on social media, donating to conservation programs, and by supporting its Seafood for the Future program. Environmentally responsible seafood, including aquaculture, is key to the long-term success of the vaquita and many other marine animals. “We need to eat more of the right types of seafood to save marine species and support human and ocean health,” said Kim Thompson, Seafood for the Future program manager.

WHEN: Saturday, July 9, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m

WHERE: Aquarium of the Pacific, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802

COST: $29.95 for adults (12+), $17.95 for children (3-11), $26.95 for seniors (62+), and free for children under three years old and Aquarium members.

INFO: For more information visit www.aquariumofpacific.org or www.seafoodforthefuture.org

More information on the Vaquita marina:


WHAT CAN YOU DO?

It is vital that consumers support the “Vaquita-Friendly” labeled seafood when it comes to the U.S. market. In the meantime, here’s what consumers can do to support conservation efforts for the vaquita and other species that may be impacted by unsustainable fishing practices:

* Ask where your seafood comes from and how it was caught.
* You can support fishermen who are working with government and nongovernment organizations to reach conservation goals while sustaining their livelihoods. Some examples and reference sites for these efforts are included below:
     Sustainable Fisheries Partnership: sustainablefish.org/
     The Nature Conservancy: Resilient and Productive 
* Fisheries: http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/habitats/oceanscoasts/howwework/marine-conservation-inspiring-stories-sustainable-fisheries-1.xml

You can also support businesses and restaurants that sell seafood from environmentally responsible sources. Find businesses and restaurants participating in responsible seafood sourcing programs at:
* FishChoice.com
Build awareness within your social networks about the vaquita and environmentally responsible seafood and use the hashtags #4aPorpoise and #SavingSpecies and sharing this PSA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9ISbZ8WUTY.

The vaquita is just one of many species impacted by human activities. Ten years ago, the Baiji river dolphin in China became the first known cetacean (whale, dolphin, or porpoise) to go extinct, likely due to unsustainable fishing practices. 

Humans have been responsible for many extinctions on land, but surprisingly few in the sea. Despite this, humans have impacted virtually all major marine ecosystems. But all hope is not lost, and it is not too late to change the fate of ocean-dwelling animals facing extinction, such as the vaquita. Such efforts require collaborative solutions designed to ensure the health and well-being of the World Ocean and its inhabitants while sustaining livelihoods for those who depend on the local ecosystem services the ocean provides.

Last year, the Mexican government instituted a two-year ban on all gillnet fishing within the vaquita’s range, but illegal fishing for totoaba, a large croaker (also endangered) continues. The totoaba is fished to meet the black market demand for its swim bladder, which is highly prized for its perceived medicinal attributes overseas. “If Mexico managed to solve this problem for vaquitas, it would set an example for other nations, showing that fishermen can fish sustainably and coexist with porpoises, dolphins, and other sea mammals,” says Barbara Taylor, co-chief scientist of the vaquita survey and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries biologist.

The Aquarium of the Pacific has been a leader in educating the public about the plight of the vaquita and is working with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to amplify conservation efforts for the vaquita among its more than 230 members through SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE). The goal of SAFE is to combine the power of AZA’s 183 million annual visitors with the resources and collective expertise of AZA members and partners to save animals, like the vaquita, from extinction. Learn more at: https://www.aza.org/SAFE/.

Thank you for all you do for our Sea Life Aquarium of the Pacific!!