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Mexico proposes fishing net ban to save endangered porpoise

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The Mexican government is proposing a $37 million plan to ban gillnet fishing in most of the upper Sea of Cortez in order to save the critically endangered vaquita marina, the smallest porpoise in the World.

The plan would see fishermen receiving compensation for stopping the use of nets that often sweep up the tiny porpoises along with their intended catch.

Recent reports suggest there are fewer than 100 of the shy, elusive porpoises left in the Sea of Cortez, which is also known as the Gulf of California. The gulf is the only place on Earth where the marine mammals can be found.

The proposal was submitted last week for mandatory public consultation, and could be implemented in a couple of months from now.

totoabaThe vaquita is threatened by gillnet fishing for totoaba, a huge, heavy fish whose swim bladder is prized by chefs in China.

There is already a protected reserve area around the mouth of the Colorado River delta, but the new proposal would greatly increase the no net-fishing area southward.

The new area would essentially include almost all of the vaquitas’ known range. The ban would initially be in place for two years.

The plan presented by the Agriculture and Fisheries Department would pay some of the fishermen to work patrolling the area to detect violations of the net ban. Some non-threatening net fishing techniques would be allowed for some months of the year.

Omar Vidal, of the World Wildlife Fund, praised the plan but noted that “enforcement is the main challenge,” because of illegal fishing by small boats in the area.

The biggest threat to the proposed plan is China’s hunger for totoaba swim bladders. Though fishing for totoaba is already illegal, the sky-high prices that Chinese chefs are prepared to pay make it a lucrative illicit industry. According to the Smithsonian Institution’s website, one totoaba bladder can attract up to $5,000 in the United States, and more than $10,000 in parts of Asia.

Delfin-de-Irrawaddy-300x240“If this works well, then Mexico will have given the world a unique example to demonstrate that it is possible to save an endangered species and support sustainable fisheries,” said Vidal.

But with maybe only a couple of dozen reproductively mature females left, Vidal noted, there isn’t much time left.

Experts agree that capturing vaquitas to breed them in captivity isn’t an option because it would not be feasible to capture or hold a sufficient number of them to develop a captive breeding program. Furthermore, with so few vaquitas spread over such a huge area, chasing down and catching them would risk killing off the few remaining ones left.

 

Source: www.dailyjournal.net

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Crossover to NAUI for FREE!

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As a boost to help the diving industry, NAUI are still offering a FREE Instructor cross-over course together with five free certifications to all Instructors. This can include Open Water, Advance, Rescue, Nitrox and various other specialities and can be mixed and matched so all five do not necessarily need to be for the same certification.

NAUI have also frozen the membership fees for 2021 for instructors crossing over or restarting.

NAUI’s Southern UK Rep Simon Lodge says: “Throughout this year, the diving industry has severely suffered so as a result, to help kickstart the diving industry NAUI will not be charging membership fees 2020/2021 to any new instructors.” 

Founded in 1960, NAUI Worldwide is one of the scuba industry’s largest not-for-profit agencies whose purpose is to enable people to enjoy underwater activities as safely as possible by providing the highest quality practical education, and to actively promote the preservation and protection of the world’s underwater environments. As a pioneer in diving education, NAUI has developed many of the programs and concepts accepted throughout the diving industry. NAUI: A Higher Standard!

For more details please contact Simon Lodge (Southern UK Rep) on simon@europe.naui.org or Craig Warner (Northern UK Rep) on cwarner@europe.naui.org.

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The Philippines wins World’s Top Dive Destination Award!

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Congratulations to the Philippines for being recognised as the World’s Leading Dive Destination at the 27th World Travel Awards!

The World Travel Awards serves to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the global travel and tourism industry.

Read more about diving in the Philippines in our latest publication Philippines Dive Adventures.

The magazine is a guide to the best diving in the Philippines. It features: Anilao, Bohol, Cebu, Dauin, Puerto Galera, Tubbataha and much more…

With 7,641 islands, the Philippines has it all! Let the Dive Travel Adventures and Scubaverse Media Team take you on an incredible tour above and below water in the World’s Leading Dive Destination – download your FREE copy here!


To find out more about visiting the Philippines visit the Department of Tourism website by clicking here.

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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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