Mexico’s president, its richest man and actor Leonardo DiCaprio signed an agreement Wednesday to try to save the critically endangered vaquita porpoise.
The vaquita is native to the northern Gulf of California, also known as the Sea of Cortez, where only about two dozen remain. They are threatened largely due to unauthorized gillnets set to catch totoaba, a fish whose swim bladder is a prized delicacy in China. The illegal nets can ensnare and kill the vaquitas.
The agreement struck by President Enrique Pena Nieto, multibillionaire telecoms magnate Carlos Slim and DiCaprio sets the goal of ending gillnet use in the upper Gulf and makes permanent an earlier temporary ban.
“Mexico understands its responsibility as one of the countries with greatest biodiversity,” Pena Nieto said. “That is why we have implemented an historic effort to avoid the extinction of a unique species in the world and also to protect important ecosystems.”