Vaquita success! New protections could save this endangered porpoise

With only 60 animals remaining, the vaquita porpoise is on the brink of extinction. That’s why 150,000 Greenpeace supporters have stood up to save this shy, beautiful animal. And the Mexican government just announced new protections for the vaquita. But will it be enough?

With only 60 remaining, the elusive vaquita is the most endangered porpoise in the world. 19 October 2008 © NOAA/Wikimedia Commons.With only 60 remaining, the elusive vaquita is the most endangered porpoise in the world. © NOAA/Wikimedia Commons.

The Mexican government has just announced new vaquita protections in the upper Gulf of California, the only place in the world where the vaquita lives.

More than 150,000 Greenpeace supporters have demanded greater protections for the vaquita, the world’s most endangered porpoise. And I want to thank all of you vaquita lovers for your help in pushing the government of Mexico to make this happen.

Only two weeks ago, John Hocevar, the Greenpeace USA oceans team leader, met with the Ambassador of Mexico in Washington, D.C. At that meeting John repeated your call for a permanent gillnet ban in vaquita habitat, and now it’s a reality.

Greenpeace USA Oceans Director John Hocevar met with the Mexican Ambassador on July 7 while vaquita lovers rallied outside the Mexican Embassy in Washington D.CGreenpeace USA Oceans Director John Hocevar met with the Mexican Ambassador on July 7 while vaquita lovers rallied outside the Mexican Embassy in Washington D.C. 7 Jul, 2016, ©Livia Hyams / Greenpeace

Banning gillnets and night fishing to save the vaquita

Just last week, Mexico’s National Aquaculture and Fisheries Commissioner, Mario Aguilar Sánchez, told reporters that the use of all gillnets in vaquita habitat would be permanently prohibited beginning this September. Night fishing will also be banned before the end of the year. These new regulations will increase the effectiveness of the enforcement of vaquita protections as the government of Mexico works to recover the vaquita population and bring them back from the edge of extinction.

The most recent population estimate indicate there are only about 60 vaquitas remaining. The vaquitas are innocent victims, most often killed as bycatch, in an illegal gillnet fishery for totoaba fish (also endangered) swim bladders that fetch astronomical prices in the Chinese traditional medicine trade.

To save the vaquita, we must also stand up for local communities

It is important to underline that these prohibitive measures should also consider the livelihood and social opportunities that communities along the upper Gulf of California need for their development. Only by assuring that there are economic alternatives for these local communities that enable them to substitute other viable practices for totoaba fishing can the vaquita’s survival be ensured.

It’s time for some celebration over these new measures, but stay tuned as there’s still plenty of work to be done before the vaquitas are out of the woods.

Phil Kline is a Senior Oceans Campaigner at Greenpeace USA.

The blog was originally posted by Greenpeace USA.

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Instrument Systems LGS 350 – Quick, Precise, Energy Efficiency Evaluation

With a view to future energy-efficient lighting solutions in buildings, Instrument Systems has optimized its LGS 350 goniophotometer system for highly accurate and fast testing of medium-sized LED modules according to the EU Eco-Design Directive. The LGS 350 system features an 85 % increased travel speed of the γ-axis to 34 °/s. The permissible top speed of 0.25 m/s pursuant to CIE S 025 is thus possible for a large number of LED sample sizes. Compared to present measurement solutions, for the user this means greatly increased throughput while maintaining a high standard of measurement precision. With an add-on module of the established SpecWin Pro software, a broad range of ErP tests is available for the preparation of test reports according to the EU Directive.

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Luxeon Stylist AtmoSphere Technology™ for the Perfect Restaurant Ambiance

Lumileds, the global leader in light engine technology, today announced Luxeon LEDs with AtmoSphere Technology, which can be used to create the ideal ambiance for restaurants and other hospitality venues, making customers feel cozy, comfortable and relaxed.

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World’s only whaling factory ship returns to Japan from North Pacific

The world’s only whaling factory ship has returned to Japan after two months of commercial whaling in the North Pacific disguised as science, capturing 90 sei whales and 25 Bryde’s whales.

A Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera edeni) feeds on small fish in the Pacific Ocean, 4 September 2015A Bryde’s whale (Balaenoptera edeni) feeds on small fish in the Pacific Ocean, 4 September 2015.

In the bad old days of full scale commercial whaling I used to sit helplessly in the back of IWC meetings, watching as quotas for thousands of whales, including endangered ones, were voted through despite scientific findings. Public opposition was blunted by reducing the quotas. “We are making sacrifices to protect the whales,” said the whalers, and bought themselves a few more years. But it made no difference to the catch.

The quotas set years before could no longer be reached. When the quota was 6000 but the previous year’s catch was only 3500, it was no sacrifice to slash the quota to 4000 – the whalers still caught as many whales as they could find.

But that’s all ancient history, right? Well…

In 2014, when the International Court of Justice ordered Japan to stop its Antarctic ‘scientific’ whaling after finding that it was not for scientific purposes, Japan’s North Pacific ‘scientific’ hunt came under intense scrutiny. A gesture was required before it sailed for the high seas. The Japanese government announced that it was slashing the quota from 260 to 115, a reduction of 145, and this was dutifully reported by the world media.

Greenpeace activists greet the arrival of the 'Oriental Bluebird' to Ooi Suisan Futo, Tokyo, with the message in English and Japanese ‘Illegal Whale Meat Not Welcome to Japan’ (2008).Greenpeace activists greet the arrival of the ‘Oriental Bluebird’ to Ooi Suisan Futo, Tokyo, with the message in English and Japanese ‘Illegal Whale Meat Not Welcome to Japan’ (2008).

But it turns out that there was no meaningful reduction. The quota of 100 minke whales was cut to 0, from a previous year’s catch of 3, Bryde’s whales were cut from 50 to 25, from a previous year’s catch of 28, sperm whales were cut from 10 to zero, from a previous year’s catch of one. The catch of the largest and most valuable whale, the endangered sei whale, was cut by just 10, from 100 to 90. The elimination of the minke quota was a particularly hollow gesture; the 2014 hunt covered 3,300 miles, sighting 565 whales and catching 115 of them, but saw only two minkes – one for each month at sea.

So the factory ship is back at dock unloading over a thousand tonnes of whale meat, neatly packaged while the ship was at sea and ready for sale. By concentrating on the largest whales the whalers are managing to make the North Pacific hunt produce as much as their Antarctic venture. But the market in Japan is dwindling as young people turn their backs on whale. Whaling only survives with subsidies. How much longer the industry’s PR will keep it alive remains to be seen.

For decades, Greenpeace along with other conservation groups, has been fighting to stop the hunt. Find out some of the ways we are working to shutdown the Japanese government’s whaling programme here.

John Frizell is a freelancer and former Greenpeace International oceans campaigner

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TRIAC-Dimmable LYTSwitch-7 LED Driver ICs from Power Integrations Cut BOM Count by 40%

Power Integrations, the leader in high-efficiency, high-reliability LED driver ICs, today announced its LYTSwitch™-7 single-stage, non-isolated, TRIAC-dimmable, buck topology LED driver IC family. Capable of delivering up to 22 watts without a heatsink in a very small SO-8 footprint, these high-efficiency devices are suitable for bulbs, tubes and fixtures. LYTSwitch-7 designs do not require bleeders; employing simple, passive damping for TRIAC management and an off-the-shelf, single-winding inductor, reducing component count to just 20, as compared to approximately 35 parts for typical dimmable LED driver boards.

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From L’Oréal to Revlon, which brands are polluting the ocean with microbeads?

After discovering that 170 types of seafood contained traces of microplastics, Greenpeace East Asia decided to put 30 of the world’s biggest cosmetic and personal care brands to the test.

Product pictures of microbeads/micro plastics which were found in cosmetical products from Germany and filtered out.

Microbeads might be best known to you as the coloured beads in your shower gel and facial scrubs, but more recently they’ve gained notoriety for wreaking havoc on our ecosystems and marine life.

The tiny pieces of plastic are added to everyday cosmetic products as an exfoliating agent, or for colour and texture. They’re tiny enough to travel down your plughole and right through water filtration systems and into our rivers, lakes and oceans.

A single tube of face wash can contain up to 360,000 of these tiny plastic spheres. That means that once we have finished washing our faces or brushing our teeth, we unwittingly release thousands of pieces of plastic into our environment, where they go on to ‘gently exfoliate’ the digestive tracts of seabirds and even enter the food chain.

They can also act as agents to absorb and release toxic chemicals around the sea and into the marine life that ingests them.

How do the companies stack up?

Greenpeace East Asia decided to put 30 of the world’s top companies to the test and rank them according to the strength of their commitment to getting rid of microbeads once and for all.

Check out how they rank.

While most of the brands claim to have their plastic pollution problem under control, not one of them succeeded in meeting Greenpeace’s environmental standards, meaning that they still have the potential to allow this contamination into our waterways.

Even the top scoring brands in the rank, like Beiersdorf, which has allegedly fulfilled all its commitments to its microbead ban pledge, have only taken action to remove one type of plastic-polythene- from its products, which gives a free rein to other polluting plastics.

The harmful effects of microbeads are now well known and we’re gathering more and more evidence that they’re bad news. Many of the world’s biggest brands have made pledges to rein in these toxic terrors, but they’re still not that simple for consumers to avoid.

Firstly, while some companies proudly tout the presence of ‘skin-polishing’ microbeads in their product descriptions, others contain microbeads that can be barely seen with the naked eye and only appear in the ingredients list as polyethylene, polypropylene or polystyrene.

Secondly, many brands have made promises to do the right thing and ban the beads, but each brand has its own, narrow or confusing definition of what constitutes a microbead. These definitions can vary from function of the product, role of the microbead and can even the shape of the microbead, creating loopholes that could allow the inclusion of microbeads that don’t fit into these limited definitions.

What’s the solution?

So how to get these pesky microbeads out of our products and out of our oceans? The solution is simple. Our governments need to step in and enforce a total ban on the sale and production of all solid microplastic ingredients in all personal care products.

The good news is, it’s already happening. The US announced a ban on microbeads in January of this year, while campaigns to do the same are building momentum all around the world.

In the meantime, you can vote with your wallet and choose brands that don’t add to this pointless pollution. Check out Flora and Fauna International’s Good Scrub Guide or download the Beat the Microbead app and send a clear message to manufacturers that microbeads are unwanted and unnecessary.

Taehyun Park is an Oceans Campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia

*Greenpeace East Asia consulted Fauna & Flora International on expected good practice with respect to corporate commitments to ending microplastic ingredient use.

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Luxtech Introduces LED Flex, the First Specification-Grade Flexible LED Strip

Luxtech, a leading American manufacturer of integrated LED module technology, introduces the first specification-grade flexible LED strip for luminaire manufacturers. Luxtech’s low heat, super-thin flexible LED strips can be cut, curved, and adhered to fit nearly any lighting application.

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The First New Stylist Series Member Lumileds CrispColor Technology™ Arrived

Lumileds, the global leader in light engine technology, today introduced chip on board arrays that use the innovative CrispColor Technology to deliver rich, saturated colors. Part of the extensive Luxeon Stylist Series, this new approach to lighting caters specifically to fashion retail, delivering a stunning palette to display merchandise more attractively.

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New euroLighting LED Module with Particularly Low Flicker Index

The new LED module in AC technology from euroLighting scores highly with an extremely low flicker index of 0.029. An additional protective edge and an improved cap with click fastener increase safety even more. The module accommodates the LEDs and all the driver electronics on a board only 47 mm in diameter.

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