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Sea Shepherd Ship attacked inside Vaquita Refuge

by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society 2 Feb 2019 14:47 UTC
Sea Shepherd Ship attacked inside Vaquita Refuge © Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Sea Shepherd's ship the M/V Farley Mowat was patrolling and protecting the critically endangered Vaquita porpoise when it was ambushed and overwhelmed by more than 35 skiffs yesterday. The poachers attacked by hurling lead weights, anchors, trash, and dead fish at the vessel and its wheelhouse windows in addition to threatening the crew with Molotov cocktails, spraying gasoline at the ship and pouring gas into the sea around the vessel.

Five agitated poachers managed to board the M/V Farley Mowat. During the illegal boarding, the Sea Shepherd crew was able to keep the poachers from entering into the ship and used an emergency firehose to repel the borders, while waiting for naval forces to arrive. At this time, a naval helicopter made several passes above the scene and the skiffs began to disperse.

Sea Shepherd has been present in the Upper Gulf of California since 2015. Less than 30 Vaquitas remain alive today. The main threat to the tiny cetacean is illegal poaching of the totoaba fish with gillnets. It is believed that a totoaba bladder can be worth up to USD $100,000. Sea Shepherd has already removed more than over 850 pieces of illegal fishing gear from the Upper Gulf of California. That is more than 174,000 meters of illegal gear, which has directly saved the lives of over 3,100 animals, including other endangered and protected species!

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