Six vessels detained for illegal fishing in vaquita protective area

By Jose Antonio Perez

Following the detention of two additional fishing vessels for illegal fishing activities in the Vaquita Marina protective area in the Upper Gulf of California, this brings the total to six boats detained through support from cutting-edge technology of Unmanned Aircraft  operated by the Secretary of the Navy (SEMAR) and SISMEP-CONAPESCA.

In the most recent action, on Monday, Oct. 24th, staff from the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (PROFEPA) and SEMAR detected vessels undergoing fishing activities within the restricted area, including alleged use of drag nets and gillnets.

PROFEPA is using a “Zero Tolerance” policy in combating illicit fishing practices.  Unmanned aircraft identify and locate fishing vessels, while then verifying with SISMEP as to whether the location is within the protected area. PROFEPA and SEMAR then make their way to the boats to verify and review any authorization issued by the Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) before taking other measures.

Among these measures is that of securing the boats, and transporting them to the Fondeport dock in San Felipe, Baja California, until the legal situation is resolved.

PROFEPA calls on fisherman in the Upper Gulf of California to respect the fishing exclusion areas, principally in the Vaquita Marina Protective zone.

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