The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society says that its vessel, the M/V Farley Mowat, was ambushed on Jan. 31 by a group of poachers posing as fishermen while the ship was conducting maritime conservation patrols in a vaquita refuge in Mexico's Gulf of California. It's the second such attack in less than a month.
The conservation organization says its ship was surrounded by more than 50 assailants on 20 high speed boats, according to a press release shared with EcoWatch.
Sea Shepherd released a video showing fishermen shouting, hurling objects and trying to foul the propellors of the M/V Farley Mowat, a Sea Shepherd vessel used in campaigns against illegal fisheries activities.
WATCH: Less Than 30 Vaquitas Remain. Sea Shepherd Is Determined to Save World's Most Endangered Marine Mammal
Watch as Sea Shepherd Ship Manager Rebecca Benjamin-Carey takes viewers on a tour through Operation Milagro V's latest vessel: The M/V White Holly. EcoWatch's Facebook / https://www.facebook.com/EcoWatch/videos/282268175718393/
Sea Shepherd will soon launch the White Holly vessel from Fernandina Beach, Florida to Mexico's Sea of Cortez in an effort to advance their latest campaign, Operation Milagro V. The campaign is focused on saving the the vaquita porpoise—the world's most endangered marine mammal.
EcoWatch teamed up with Sea Shepherd in this exclusive Facebook live video below to hear about their mission to save the vaquita. Asia's wildlife blackmarket is on track to driving the vaquita to extinction. Poachers causing the crisis are not actually after the vaquita, but the totoaba fish, as one totoaba bladder sells for $20,000 USD in China's blackmarket. As a result vaquitas are tragically getting trapped in illegal nets and dying at rapid rates.
In defiance of international protests, Japanese whaling vessels returned to port with another 333 minke whales on Saturday after its months-long hunt in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in Antarctic waters.
'Unprecedented Rescue Operation': Sea Shepherd Saves 25 Critically Endangered Totoabas at the Height of Spawning Season
At 7:45 p.m. PST Monday, the Sea Shepherd vessel M/V SHARPIE came upon an illegal gillnet within the Vaquita Refuge in the Northern Sea of Cortez, Mexico. The gillnet was entangled in a longline. As the ship's crew began to separate the illegal fishing gear, they noticed live totoaba bass in the net, embarking on an unprecedented rescue operation.
It is the height of totoaba bass spawning season in the Upper Gulf of California, when the endangered fish migrate directly to an area inhabited by the vaquita porpoise. The vaquita is currently the most endangered marine mammal in the world, and continues to be threatened as bycatch in the illegal totoaba trade.
More than 150 short-finned pilot whales stranded en masse at Hamelin Bay on the west coast of Australia early Friday morning.
Most of the whales did not survive after beaching themselves, according to Jeremy Chick, incident controller at Western Australia's Parks & Wildlife Service.