vaquita collage left s

Once the net held all.

Land and sea
and all of its inhabitants–
each pulling its threads,
mending and reweaving
until the ripples
returned themselves
to the delicate balance
of ebb and flow.

Ghost nets they call them–
abandoned traps that
strangle and drown.

No species lives in isolation.
Deplete one and all suffer.

Poverty kills more
than just the humans
desperate to survive.

vaquita collage s

The Gulf of California, which separates the Baha Peninsula from the Mexican mainland, has one of the most diverse ecosystems on earth, with many endemic species, including the vaquita, small porpoises on the verge of extinction.

Although laws have been passed banning gillnets and the illegal harvesting of totoaba for their swim bladders, and much of the area has been designated as off limits to commercial development, there is little money or will from the Mexican government for enforcement.

The native peoples historically relied on fishing for sustenance.  The impoverishment of their lives by commercial development, overfishing, and sport fishing mean that black market exporters of the swim bladders to China will always find someone willing to risk using banned fishing methods to catch the fish.  When gillnets are used, lost, or abandoned, vaquitas get caught in them and drown.

When I first did an endangered species post on the vaquita, in 2015, there were thought to be 100 individuals left.  Today the estimates range from 30 to less than 10.  It seems unlikely that they will survive.

Laws can only do so much.  Our entire economic system needs to be rethought in ways that allow all members of all species, including our own, to live a dignified and sustainable life.

vaquita collage right s

For earthweal, where Sherry has asked us to “remember the lost ones, and the ones who will soon break our hearts by leaving.

29 thoughts on “Vaquita

  1. Isnt it cool we both picked the vaquita! I hadnt heard of it till I googled to see what has gone or is going extinct………….loved your poem, and your beautiful art, as always.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Incredible that there can be such a small number of these beautiful creatures left! But you’re right, the people struggling to survive are not so much to blame as the system which traps them in poverty.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wonder if we ever will. One of the local newspaper columnists that was at the summit wrote a story today worrying about his feeling that most people are not actually willing to give up anything to save the planet. I have plenty of friends that talk the talk but fly all over the world and drive everywhere. And consume, consume, consume. I’m certainly not blameless on that last count–I have far more stuff than I need.


      1. My feelings exactly. There was a phone-in on the radio last night about the ‘alarming’ numbers of people who, because of the rise in fuel costs, only turn on every other radiator, and have given up heating bedroom, ‘hoping’ that blankets etc will be enough to keep them warm at night. How is this an unreasonable state? We have never heated bedrooms, not even when we lived in the frozen north, nor did we heat more than the one room everybody bundled into, because heating was expensive. Yes, it’s something poor people do, always have done. In the days before central heating it’s what everybody except the super rich did. Is this some kind of a revelation, or have our demands as to what constitutes our ‘rights’ to comfort have so much increased? The ‘essential’ category has expanded to include so much now, like the holidays, the air travel, the change of wardrobe twice a year, the new car every two years, that we’re killing ourselves with self-indulgence.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I remember when President Carter asked people to turn their heat down and wear sweaters…there was mass outrage. Almost everything we think we “deserve” or need is really an indulgence. They only recently passed a law here allowing for the repair of products by non-manufacturers. The people who make things want them so break and be discarded so we are forced to buy something new.


          1. The world’s environmental problems don’t come from the poorest countries with the high birthrates, much as we in the smug wealthy countries say, but from the richest. We eat, use, throw away, destroy far more than they do, but we’re civilised, they’re savages.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. How terribly sad to hear of this endangered dolphin. Dolphins are wonderful. I always ffeeel joy when I see them in the wild. You are right. We need a new economic system. Your poem and. art work are beautiful

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I doubt there’s any way to raise the collective consciousness enough to do anything to prevent this mass extinction event save mass extinction of humanity. But I don’t let that cross the poetic wires for praising this life and world. And the extinction stories matter.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. thanks for drawing our attention to this species, I’ve not heard of them. You’ve called it well, until people have a reasonable living wage they are wide open to corruption just to survive.

    I often wonder if all these billions wasted on tours into space might have been better used to save the planet we live on … guess those ppl will just zoom off into outer space and destroy the next one!

    Liked by 1 person

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