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Trinational conservation plan outlines strategy to help Mexico save the endangered vaquita porpoise

LatinaLista — One of the more positive programs to come as a result of the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA) was the creation of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC).
The CEC’s job is to basically enforce environmental law and address regional environmental concerns. Their latest project comes at the request of the three governments that comprise the CEC — Mexico, Canada and the United States.

Vaquita dolphins caught in Mexico.
The countries asked the CEC to draft a plan to save the endangered porpoise known as the vaquita from extinction. Living only off the coast of Mexico in the Upper Gulf of California, the vaquita number 150 today.
If urgent action isn’t taken, according to the CEC, the number could drop to as low as 50 in two years. This isn’t the first time that attention has been drawn to the plight of the small porpoise but conflicts with the local fishermen have made trying to enforce any preservation measure futile.
So, the CEC drafted a trilingual (Spanish, French and English) plan called the North American Conservation Action Plan.
In it, the CEC drafted ways to work with the indigenous communities to create “vaquita-safe fishing methods” and sustainable economies.
“The objective of the recovery efforts is for people who make their living from fishing to see the vaquita as an opportunity for economic and social well-being, and not a threat to their future,” said Adrian Vazquez-Galvez, executive director of the CEC. “In the end, only with the support of Upper Gulf communities can we achieve vaquita recovery and the conservation of the region’s marine resources as a whole.”
It will also take an overall heightened public awareness and cooperation from the private and public sector to make changes that benefit both the local economy and the environment — a cooperation that must span borders for the good of all.

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