Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Vaquita Porpoises Doomed Plus a Ton of Illegal Lobster Seized

Yaqui for Borderland Beat from: NBC and MND

March 27, 2019   To read my previous Posts called: Cocaine of the Sea use Search engine

    For the first time in four years, fishermen are back on the water in the Upper Gulf of California fishing inside the Vaquita Marina Sanctuary, the only place in the world where the smallest marine mammal can be found.

In 2015, the Mexican government prohibited commercial fishing in what is also known as Sea of Cortez. On March 21, the government announced that it will place buoys to set boundaries around the reserve, where it is believed fewer than 10 vaquita porpoises remain.

The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources promised to provide social programs and jobs for fishing communities, but during an assembly, fishermen refused the initiative, arguing that it does not give an immediate solution for their people who are facing hunger.

The Cocaine of the Sea:

While sharks have been determined to be the only natural predators of vaquita porpoises, humans have proven otherwise. Measuring less than five feet long, hundreds of vaquitas have met their deaths drowning after becoming entangled in illegal fishermen’s nets.

  Man holding a Totaba fish over a dead vaquita porpoise caught in the same net for size comparison

The illicit practice of illegal fishing for totoaba, an endangered fish, is expediting the extinction of the vaquita. Totoaba fish measure up to seven feet and catching them can turn into a lucrative business as their bladder is sold for thousands or tens of thousands of dollars and smuggled to China and Hong Kong, as it is believed to have medicinal properties. Poachers are pushing two species toward extinction, leaving local fishermen without their life-sustaining resource.

In an effort to stop black market poaching, the Mexican government outlawed all gill-nets in the vaquita refuge. In return, it promised compensation for fishermen being put out of work.

"There’s no money and people are looking for ways to survive," fisherman Jesus Montezuma said. "Fishermen are opting for fishing the totoaba, while there’s no compensation; people are risking everything because they have to put food on the table." Montezuma said it has been three months since he last received compensation.

          The Vaquita Porpoise Myth:

Cosme Gastellu ( Cosme el Roquero de San Felipe ) has lived in San Felipe, a small town on the Sea of Cortez, for almost 35 years. He, like many locals, believes the Vaquita is just a myth.

"There’s no vaquita here, I haven’t seen one," Gastelum said. "I’ve seen people fish for totoaba, they come on their bike, then they buy a new car. A kilo of totoaba’s bladder can be sold here from $4,000 to $7,000 dollars," Gastelum said.

Toatoba carcasses are dumped overboard off the fishing pangas at night with only the bladders cut out; the fishermen risk everything by being caught with any part of the fish including the flesh of the fish to feed their families.

New Government, No Funds:

The federal government has suspended the economic support granted to fishermen since 2015. Under the government of Andres Manuel Lópes Obrador, the new Comprehensive Program for Fisheries Sustainability in the Upper Gulf of California has no funds for 2019, leaving fishermen like Montezuma without a monthly compensation.

Alejandro Mesa Ramos, 27, started fishing with his dad since he was 12 years old, he too has not received economic support since December 2018.

"Yesterday, we tried to fish for shrimp along the edge of the sea, because we want to bring something to eat,” Ramos said. “I have three children and I have to take them to school and feed them."

He said the monthly compensation he received was about $445 dollars a month, just enough to cover the essentials. He is owed more than $1300 dollars.

Livelihoods or Death:

"One can’t go fishing, [the government] doesn’t let us go out and work," Fisherman Montezuma said. "In fact, there are people that go fishing in the middle of the night just to be able to support their families."

He said three people have been killed as they tried to fish at night without lights so they are not caught and their boat crashed into each other.

"They can look for a way to take care of it [the vaquita], and we will support them as fishermen if it even exists," he said. "But, they need to look at us as well, not just the vaquita. Sea Shepherd is helping to conserve it, but what about the humans?"
                                         Seized Totoaba bladders: Cocaine of the Sea 
                      They are trafficked just as one more black market product of the Cartels

Sea Shepherd, the organization founded by Paul Watson, formerly of GreenPeace, that Montezuma was referring to, is an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization that patrols and protects the vaquita refuge as well as working against whaling especially where the Japanese whaling fleet "fishes" to satisfy the insatiable appetite of the Asian culture.

Operation Milagro V:

Fighting to save the world’s most endangered marine mammal from extinction, Jean Paul Geoffroy, head of Sea Shepherd’s Operation Milagro V, is determined to help save the vaquita porpoise.

"We, [Sea Shepherd], do support the fishermen to return to their work, return to the sea, but as long as they follow the law and the rules to make a truly sustainable fishing," he said.

Geoffroy wears a black Sea Shepherd hoodie, but he only does so outside of San Felipe, because of previous threats he has received from the community.
                                                   Sea Shepherd Attack Jan, 31st
Sea Shepherd Ship Attacked by Poachers:

On Jan. 31, one of the Sea Shepherd vessels was violently attacked by more than 50 assailants posing as fishermen on board 20 high-speed boats while conducting maritime conservation patrols inside the vaquita refuge. Bottles filled with flammable liquid and with a means of ignition and projectiles, including lead weights and large stones, were hurled by poachers, shattering windows and setting the side of the Sea Shepherd ship on fire.

Crewmembers fended the attackers off using emergency fire hoses while Mexican Navy soldiers and Federal Police stationed on board opened fire into the air and sea to deter the attackers. This was the second attack in less than a month, according to Sea Shepherd’s news release.

Nets Bigger than a Football Field:

Sea Shepherd focuses on the retrieval of gillnets located inside the vaquita refuge. In the middle of the night, while illegal fishermen and poachers enter the refuge to leave their nets, the location is recorded by Sea Shepherd’s crew members using radar. At sunrise, the gillnets are extracted and destroyed.
The placid waters off San Felipe, Baja Ca; Home of the Vaquita Marine Sanctuary and the desperate fishermen that work these waters. They have now refused to obey the "Veda" , ie Fishing Prohibition.

"We have retrieved gill nets that have up to 62 totoabas, in just one net. Just a few days ago we had a net with two totoabas," Geoffroy said.

The nets retrieved have been up to 400 meters long. That’s three and a half times the size of a football field. According to Geoffroy, most of the nets retrieved are about 250 meters long. Losing a net can be costly as they range between $1,000 to $4,000 dollars.

"We are not taking anybody’s job," Geoffroy said. "We are simply here to support what the government has stipulated. If that changes, that will be the government's decision. We [Sea Shepherd], are not the ones who decide where the refuge is, that’s decided by the Mexican government."

Disposal of Totoaba Fish:

"We retrieve gillnets that have totoaba," said Locky Maclean, Sea Shepherd’s director of Marine Operation. "Live totoabas are released and the ones that are already deceased are put on deck. We have a strict protocol with photographic evidence, a cutting protocol basically destroying the bladder."

He said there are federal agents from the Mexican government on board Sea Shepherd’s vessels at all times. The destruction protocol was put in place by the Federal Attorney’s Office for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA).

Extinction of the Vaquita:

On March 6, an international commission of experts said only six to 22 vaquitas remain in the Gulf of California. Jorge Urban, a biology professor at the Baja California Sur University, said about 22 vaquitas were heard over a network of acoustic monitors.
( The infamous "Sunshine", known to be involved in the illegal activities, above right )

This number is higher than previous estimates, however, on March 13, Sea Shepherd announced a dead vaquita was found caught in a gillnet. The cetacean was retrieved in an advanced state of decomposition that a genetic analysis had to be done to confirm the identity of species.

The commission noted that it is most likely that the number of surviving vaquitas is around 10. ( The last census just a few months ago  it was thought about 30 remained ). The future of the vaquita is uncertain as local fishermen are back fishing inside the vaquita refuge in hopes the Mexican government presents a comprehensive solution that allows them to fish legally while protecting the vaquita porpoise.

As for Sea Shepherd, Geoffroy said the team is retrieving nets as usual in order to preserve the vaquita, which was first discovered by science in 1958.

NOTE: I personally have been notified by friends in the area that TWO dead humpback whales have also been found in illegal gill nets just in the past few months, sorry no photos.

Meanwhile in ENSENADA: A TON of illegally caught spiny lobsters were confiscated in BC

A TON of illegal lobster seized in Baja California ; Its black-market value was estimated at US $70,000 on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 by the Mexican Army

    Army personnel seized a tonne of California spiny lobster yesterday in Ensenada, Baja California.
                                           The driver of the truck was placed under arrest.

Soldiers carrying out an inspection of a three-tonne truck in Ejido Ajusco led to the discovery of a hidden compartment under the truck’s bed, where 32 boxes containing the illegal catch were found.

Authorities believe that the cargo’s destination was the black market where a kilogram of the lobster would sell for US $60 to $70, which would have generated illicit revenue of $70,000.

The spiny lobster fishing season in Baja California starts in mid-September and concludes in mid-February. At the end of the last season, the state fisheries agency reported that close to 700 tonnes of the crustacean had been caught.


  1. They look like the fish from resident evil 4

  2. Replies
    1. Hey there’s a post on fb from 2018 of when cjng killed el r18 wife in Sinaloa for operating of cds while her husband was locked up not sure if you would like to post it

    2. El patas from CAF old guard gunned down yesterday according to ZETA

    3. Ha! I didn't even notice until you said something! Welcome back yaqui!

  3. Hey welcome back Yaqui. - Sol Prendido

    1. Muchas Gracias to you both !
      I lived to tell about it w/o any of the nasty subjects we publish being experienced and I gained a puppy to add to my menagerie, woohoo !

    2. Yaqui doodle dandy is back, your burros survived the fires?

      El Perin de Tamp.

    3. Ja Ja.....Si Si , and an awful winter of snow , thanks for asking !!
      I spent plenty of time with Burros, mulas, machos, caballos y vacas amigos en otro lado del Sur.

    4. Yaqui I thought you were someplace warm for the winter,not cold with that ugly stuff called snow.

    5. I was, but not my Burras; everyone asks me if I take them and I always have the same answer : NO, there are plenty of asses down there ! Jaja

  4. Low-life CDS capos are scraping the bottom of the barrel. Mencho has knocked them out of the drug game so they are resorting to exotrtion and illegal fishing to make ends meet.

  5. 10 fish left and they have to kill those too out of hunger? Not only hungry, but very stupid. After you kill them all and they cannot reproduce how is that going to take away your hunger.

  6. So fuckin sad,man,the Apex predator,the Apex Rat,king rat.
    We cant even protect endangered species,so fuckin what your hungry,eat something else.Anything is fair game with the king rat.Beautiful creatures dying for our greed and want,what a world,what a joke

    1. Chapos in jail. He's not eating fish no more

    2. Wonder who you is with the goofy arse snide joke

    3. Find buyers for the bladders,
      then arrest and fine the shit off of them,
      but nooo, they are THE protected SPECIES.
      Cracking a hole in the fishing ships works wonders too, I seen it. Specially at sea, and leave the motherfackers stranded.

  7. Radical measures need implementing,the greed of man never censors itself no matter what bleeding heats say in this strange time.

  8. Welcome back Yaqui

    -Throw Away


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