Tons of garbage and ghost fishing cause the death of whales in Mazatlán – El Sol de México

In the season of sightingscomprised of December 8 to March 31 of each year, becomes more visible mortality of Whales in the southern coast of the state of Sinaloa. Some of the cetaceans that have been found dead They have in their bodies remains of fish that feed on plastics that float like patches in the sea and that are ingested by species that are part of the food chain. Mammals have also appeared stranded with fishing nets in their bodies that are left as a trap by the fishermen.

This situation turns on the warning lights not only in terms of the causes that cause his deathbut also with regard to the follow-up given to his death.

Garbage patches

The rubbish and its incorrect provision final is a problem that affects in different ways the planetFor example, in the ocean patches are generated that with the currents and tides They travel for thousands of nautical miles until they end up being ingested by various species of Marine animals.

Whales are one of the species most affected by this situation because the garbage is compressed and generates shade, which attracts fish, which are the food for other fish or larger mammals like them. So, when the Whales They gobble up those fish near the accumulations of waste, plastic reaches your stomachwhich will be what will cause his death.

In Mazatlan This year two dead whales have appeared in different parts of the coast. In the month of April, the first case was recorded on the beach of La sea ​​Avenuejust a week after the season for sightings of these species in the port officially ended.

and the past December 14 a whale gray approximately 10 meters appeared dead in the area of Cuatro Surcos beachesAt the port of Teacapán, in Escuinapa.

The mammal, which carried tied a bow to the tailwas dragged by the current coming from the open sea until it reached the bay.

The fisheries biologist Manuel Perez Castillo explains that whales are predators naturethen everything they eat ends up affecting them.

In the end the whales accumulate all this, so their muscles and blood are full of microplastics, metals and toxinsthat is, they are highly contaminated animals for that reason,” he explained.

For this reason, he called on all beach visitors to handle food through reusable containers or to use the least amount of food. amount of plastics single use only.

Likewise, have a way to dispose of waste. generated during the visitusing the containersbeing responsible and friendly with the environment and its species.

ghost networks

Another problem for mammals is “ghost” fishing nets or what they are thrown by fishermen in it ocean and although in Mazatlán companies like Onca Explorations belong to the National Entangled Whale Care NetworkRaben, it is intended that there be awareness about the final destination of these instruments.

In February of this same year, on the beaches of Hawaii ran aground a whale and in its stomach contained six traps for hagfish, seven types of networks fishing, two types of plastic bags, a flashlight protector, fishing line and a floatin addition to remains of common fish from their diet.

In May, in the southwest of France, another cetacean was found with 16 kilos of plastic and signs of extreme thinness; situations that have been recurring since 2017 in different parts of the world.

Whale watching

The whale watching season in the Mexican Pacific It officially began as a tourist activity on December 8 and ends on March 31, 2024.

On the shores of Mazatlanto few kilometers from the bayit is common to see humpback whales (Megaptera Novaeangliae) in the process of reproduction, whether in mating rituals or birthing and raising their whale calves.

This is the main species seen throughout the Mexican Pacificalthough gray whales are occasionally seen in Mazatlán, but it is a rare event, since they are more seen on the coasts of Baja California; and from January to March when productivity changes, you can see sardine whales.

The flutters and jumps of this species of marine mammals, are typical of the courtship of the males towards the femaleswhich display great energy out of waterwhich makes it a spectacle worth admiring.

However, and despite the fact that the seas of Mexico are not suitable for feeding, since this is done in Alaska, Canada and the United States, The garbage that we allow to reach the sea is carried by the currents to those parts of the land and ends up consumed by these and other marine animals.


Regarding sightings, which are common activities from December to March, Perez Castillo recommended that, if they are going to do them, they do it with responsible companiesand with permission from authorities such as Semarnat, to ensure that the boat has the permit available and visible and does not fall into illegality.

He highlighted that this is established in the Official Journal of the Federationbased on the guidelines that protect whales, which is the NOM-131-SEMARNAT.

To protect this species, a series of guidelines must be followed, rules that must be followed in order to carry out the sighting and not interfere with your behavior Of reproduction

“Establish that it is necessary to put your engine in neutral and simply let the whales come and go of their own volition. The minimum approach distance for vessels is 60 meters for smaller boats, 80 meters for larger ones and those who do not have authorization have to stay at 240 meters“In addition, only four boats are allowed per group of whales and the time limit is 30 minutes.”

That is why it is extremely important hire the services of tour operators that they have authorization to carry out this activity, and not only that, that they know the whales, their behavior and contribute to your conservation.

They invite you not to throw garbage on the beaches

The Operator and Administrator of Mazatlán Beaches invites bathers, both local and tourists, not to leave trash on the beaches, to prevent Ocean currents They take it to the sea.

To guarantee the protection of these species and the conservation of its habitat, it is necessary to comply with the guidelines and specifications of the Mexican Official Standard NOM-131-SEMARNAT-2010 published in the Official diary of the Federation on October 17, 2022”says the administrator in a press release.

The protocols

Biologists and researchers assure that it is vitally important to comply with the Care Protocol for Mammal Stranding Marinessince this can lead to determining precisely the causes that originate this phenomenon that is increasingly recurrent in the Pacific coasts.

In most cases it is the Municipal Police Water Rescue Squad the one in charge of the final disposal of these organisms, burying them in the sand, but without complying due to the Care Protocol for Stranding of Marine Mammals.

When an animal is located lifelesssome data must be taken such as measurements, weight, determine if it is male or female and carry out the corresponding studies to determine the cause of death.

Failure to collect this information is a great loss for the scientific knowledge and does not allow continuity to investigations that are not only carried out local levelbut at a global level.

When locating lifeless organisms and simply burying them, a lot of information is lost and is no longer followed up, since it is not even considered. staff participation trained to take samples of these organisms and analyze them.

The Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (Profepa) is responsible for coordinating attention to contingency events involving marine mammals, incorporating and coordinating different sectors: public, private and social in response to their stranding.

Profepa can request the support of the federal, state or municipal authoritieswhich in accordance with their powers, have intervention in the applicable measures for the attention of strandings, for the processing and obtaining of the corresponding authorizations.

What happens to the corpses?

The Care Protocol for Stranding of Marine Mammals indicates that in each event a record must be kept, the possible causes of the event and give timely attention to it.

It points out that the procedure to follow to deal with strandings of live mammals considers the release of those that are in good health; the rehabilitation of those who require it, as a measure to reintegrate them into their natural habitat, and euthanasia, to free them from suffering when rehabilitation is not feasible.

On the other hand, dead specimens need to be studied to detect possible causes of their death and in this way provide information on the health status of marine mammal populations and to improve the chances of survival of future stranded animals.

The final disposition of the specimens will depend on the information available. One of the options is to leave the corpse(s) at the stranding site, but only when it comes to areas practically uninhabitedwhere they do not cause discomfort due to bad odor or risks to public health.

He burial or burial On the beach or nearby land is another option, but an area must be located that does not present serious difficulties to dig a grave, which must have a depth such that it leaves a free space above the corpse, of at least one meter. .

Before depositing the corpses, a layer of lime or quicklime must be placed. Once in the pit, they must be covered with another layer of said material, before covering them with the substrate. Having done the above, the Profepa may place a sign warning of the contents deposited there, suggesting the following legend: “Grave care with biological waste“.

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And finally you have the sinking processcommonly used with large cetaceans because their corpses cause discomfort or represent risks to life. public health; The necessary equipment to bury them is not available or such an operation is complicated.

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