Mexicoâ€™s drug cartelsâ€”the poisonous fruit of a toxic drug war treeâ€”are overfishing the Sea of Cortez and exterminating the vaquita porpoise, the worldâ€™s rarest marine mammal:
Austrian filmmaker Richard Ladkani recorded the shocking and dangerous story of the activists, scientists and journalists risking their lives to save the rare whale in his documentary â€œSea of Shadows.â€
â€œThe film â€˜Sea of Shadowsâ€™ for me was one of the most important films that I’ve ever made, â€¦ Because here you have an example of criminal syndicates attacking planet Earth. And the clock’s really ticking, because if they continue to do what they do—if they continue their fight against this ocean, for money and greedâ€”they’re actually going to destroy one of the most beautiful places on Earth.”
â€œNobody has ever heard about this war even happening,â€ the filmmaker goes on. â€œIt’s happening in the shadows, but only a five hoursâ€™ drive south of Los Angeles. And here you have a species go extinctâ€”the smallest whale on earth, a beautiful creature right out of a Disney movie, the vaquita.” [â€¦]
Drug cartels became involved in the â€¦ fishing trade partly because â€¦ itâ€™s much easier money than selling narcotics. Their â€¦ overfishing of the Sea of Cortez â€¦ makes it even more difficult for efforts to save the vaquita to take place because of the deadly threat that getting involved poses to activists, journalists and scientists, as well as to the very fishermen entangled in the trade. [â€¦]
Cartels that aid the Sixth Great Extinction also make it difficult for researchers working in Mexicoâ€™s interior. Environmental protection in Mexico often doesnâ€™t get funded or implemented as meager financial resources get used up fighting an ineffectual and never-ending drug war.