Mexico on Friday banned fishing with gillnets in the northern Gulf of California as part of its pledge to save a critically-endangered species of porpoise whose cause has been championed by Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio and others. The snub-nosed vaquita porpoise has all but died out due to gillnet fishing for shrimp and totoaba, a delicacy in Asia. Mexico three weeks ago unveiled a plan with DiCaprio to protect the diminutive marine mammal.
Mexico three weeks ago unveiled a plan with DiCaprio to protect the diminutive marine mammal. Gillnets, which use mesh sizes designed to allow fish to get only their head through the netting but not their body, are blamed for trapping the vaquita porpoises and killing them.
In its official gazette, the Mexican government said it had issued a permanent ban on fishing with gillnets in the northern Gulf of California, where the few remaining vaquitas live. DiCaprio’s foundation estimated in early June there are now fewer than 30 vaquitas left in the wild.
On his Twitter account, the American actor hailed as “great news” the announcement that a previous temporary ban on the nets had been made permanent, offering his thanks to Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and the World Wildlife Fund. Pena Nieto retweeted DiCaprio’s remarks.
The Oscar-winning actor had always been environmentally concious. In 2016 when he had won the Oscar award, his speech was carefully constructed and artfully delivered, and – unlike many other nominees – was not cut short by the Academy’s music, which signals to the recipient that it is time to leave the stage.
“Making The Revenant was about man’s relationship with the natural world,” DiCaprio said. “A world that we collectively felt in 2015 was the hottest year in recorded history. Our production team needed to go to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow; climate change is real, and it’s happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species and we need to work together and stop procrastinating. We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters or the big corporations, but who speak for all of humanity; and for the indigenous people of the world; for the billions and billions of underprivileged people who will be most affected by this; for our children’s children; and for all the people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed. Let us not take this planet for granted; I do not take tonight for granted.”
(With inputs from Reuters)