Drones Used to Protect Endangered Porpoise in Mexico

Drones protect endangered porpoises in Mexico

Photo via arcturus-uav.com

First, it was videography. Then, it was surveying. Now, drones are being used to do everything from research to shipping and everything in between. Just when you’ve thought you’ve heard it all about the capabilities of these unmanned aerial vehicles, a new story hits the news wire.

According to a recent story at News24.com, Mexico’s government is now using drones to help stop the illegal fishing activities that have led to the near extinction of the world’s smallest porpoise. Using three drones equipped with high-resolution cameras, the country’s navy and the environment ministry will police the upper Gulf of California both day and night. In 2015, the country’s president deployed navy ships to enforce a two-year ban on gill nets and increased the porpoise’s protection area, but a new census showed that only 60 of the porpoises remain. Scientists say the species could be extinct by 2022.

According to the captain of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, drones with night vision cameras have proven to be an effective tool to find poachers, especially after dark. In addition to drones, the conservation group also said authorities need to ban all types of nets because poachers will use legal fishing permits to mask their illegal activities.

According to the article, the Mexican government has pledged $70M to help fishermen affected by the ban to make the transition to other methods of fishing.

The ban on nets for shrimp fishing in the porpoises’ habitat will be made permanent from September.

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