MEXICO CITY (AP) ― Mexico’s president, its richest man and actor Leonardo DiCaprio signed an agreement June 7 aimed at protecting marine ecosystems in the upper Gulf of California where the vaquita porpoise is critically endangered.
The agreement is collaboration between President Enrique Pena Nieto, multi-billionaire Carlos Slim and DiCaprio and will be backed by the respective foundations of Slim and DiCaprio.
The vaquita is native to the upper Gulf, but only an estimated 30 porpoises are left in the wild today.
Because illegal traders pay thousands of dollars per kilogram of the swim bladders, efforts to curb totoaba fishing have been ineffective and the number of surviving vaquitas has fallen rapidly.
The agreement sets objectives to prevent illegal fishing and gillnet use, which threaten the vaquita.
Authorities say that later this year they will begin capturing and enclosing the few vaquitas that remain in a protected marine sanctuary as a last-ditch effort to save them from extinction.