Tuesday, 16 May 2017

To No Porpoise

The world's smallest porpoise, the Vaquita marina (Phocoena sinus) of Mexico, in spite of protections by the US navy and other organisations is reportedly on the verge of extinction (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/16/chinese-appetite-totoaba-fish-bladder-threatens-rare-vaquita). This is, apparently, due to an insatiable appetite in Chinese medicine (aren't so many things?) for the swim bladder of the, also endangered, Totoaba macdonaldi fish that swims in the same seas. The swim bladders, regarded as a cure-all, can retail for around $20,000 per kilogram (and can be simply posted to China).  Fishermen in Mexico apparently use illegal gillnets to catch the fish. Unfortunately, these devices frequently drown the porpoises who cannot return to the surface in order to breathe

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