Governor Kiko Vega hosted tri-national meeting regarding Totoaba illegal traffic

It is really important to protect the totoaba fish, seeking and according on joint actions which allow strategies, experiences and practices within a frame of specialized knowledge for an efficient transnational cooperation in the struggle against the traffic of this species, mainly for the so called “buche” which has a huge value in the black market and has triggered the ambition of criminal groups who want to control this illegal traffic, said Baja California Governor Kiko Vega.

During the visit of Federal Secretary of Environmental Protection, Rafael Pacchiano Alaman Mr. Vega said that there is a project to enhance the management units for conservation, reproduction and breeding totoaba fish which will allow the beginning of the repopulation program consisting of three stages and will have an investment of 63.5 million pesos with resources from the federal and state governments as well as the University of Baja California, with a current advance of 65%.

The Facilities of the Second Naval Region in Ensenada were the stage where Mr. Vega hosted Mexican federal authorities as well as Chinese and American representatives to agree on how to approach this problem which involves the three countries and which has become a big problem regarding the environment as well as the economy of Sea of Cortez communities, and concurred that Totoaba traffic is one of the main problems endangering the Vaquita marina, California Gulf endemic marine mammal in danger of extinction.

Rafael Pacchiano, Mexico’s Environment Protection said that the Federal Government has taken action in coordination with the State to avoid the loss of the Vaquita, such as development of new fishing “arts” (nets and the like) which might interact without endangering this species and law adequacy to typify totoaba illegal fishing as a felony, and this has already allowed the first arrests and conviction of people involved in this crime.

Pacchiano also said that the cooperation and will to work of USA and China Governments to combat the fishing and illegal trafficking of totoaba fish, they have decided to explore alternatives to design a legal frame of commerce of the species aiming not only to protect the Gulf’s biodiversity but also offering the residents of communities involved sustainable alternatives to make a living, and the PROFEPA (Environment Protection Attorney) proposed to create an operative task force which may take care of carrying out all this work.

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