While in the Sea of Cortez for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s vaquita defense campaign Operation Milagro, Sea Shepherd’s volunteer crew aboard research sailing vessel R/V Martin Sheen assisted a team of scientists from La Paz, Mexico’s Autonomous University in their efforts to study and document a growing threat facing another species of endangered cetaceans – fin whales.
Using non-harmful research methods, the marine biologists obtain blubber samples to determine the levels of micro-plastics present in the fin whales. These whales are excellent bio-indicators of the presence of the micro-plastic particles in their Sea of Cortez eco-system because fin whales residing in this region do not migrate, and because they feed by taking in and filtering the water through their baleen plates and thus unfortunately also ingest plastic.
Sea Shepherd volunteers assisted in the collection and filtration of water samples from the Bay of La Paz, which will be used by the scientists to determine the levels of plastic and other marine debris in the water.
Watch the video below to learn more about this important work to address the ever-present threat of ocean plastics facing fin whales and all species of marine wildlife.
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