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Government of Mexico implements offshore vaquita project in Baja California Zero Tolerance Zone

San Felipe, Baja California — Concrete blocks are being placed off the coast of San Felipe as part of a project to help save the vaquita porpoise. In a statement, the federal government reported that the project is being carried out by the Secretary of the Navy in the Upper Gulf of California.

On July 8, concrete blocks are being placed 7.5 nautical miles off the coast of San Felipe in a Zero Tolerance Zone to discourage the laying of gillnets within the habitat of the vaquita porpoise.

The government says “in accordance with the resolution of the Environmental Impact Statement (MIA) issued by the environmental authority, this project is subject to timely compliance with current regulations on the matter, so it is not considered that there are significant environmental impacts to the marine ecosystem.

“Mitigation measures will be carried out such as the implementation of environmental surveillance programs, marine water quality, planktonic monitoring, benthos monitoring, and a program for the recovery of ghost nets.”

For the placement of the blocks on the seabed, two buoy vessels will be used, which will carry out controlled precision maneuvers that will place the structures in a useful and effective position so that the steel hooks installed on the upper face fulfill their function of retaining gillnets.

The use of gillnets was prohibited by the Government of Mexico in 2017 in the Upper Gulf of California as a measure for the conservation of the vaquita, which is considered an endangered species.