Dr. Ashley Scarlett welcomes Dr. Thomas A. Jefforson to the podcast to talk about marine mammals, especially dolphins and porpoises. In this episode, Tom talks about the state of the critically endangered porpoise, the Vaquita, that is endemic to the Sea of Cortez.
The Vaquita get caught in gillnets that are targeting Totoaba fish, whose swim bladders are in high demand in China. Tom discusses how the legal Totoaba fishery led to the reduction in fish and porpoise populations by the gillnet.
There are an estimated 15 individuals left in the world.
Dr. Thomas A. Jefferson has been studying marine mammals since 1983, when he was an undergraduate at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His Master’s degree is from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, and his Ph.D. is from Texas A&M University. Tom is Director of Clymene (KLIM IN EE) Enterprises and an Independent Researcher at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries, where his main interests are the development of marine mammal identification aids, and investigating the systematics and population ecology of the more poorly-known species of dolphins and porpoises. Most of his work has been related to conservation and management of marine mammals threatened by human activities. He has published over 170 books and papers on marine mammals.