MEXICO CITY (AP) — The Sea Shepherd environmental group said Friday that one if its ships was attacked with rocks and partly set afire by a flotilla of about 20 fishing boats in Mexico’s Gulf of California.
It was the second attack in a month in the upper Gulf, where Sea Shepherd is patrolling against illegal nets to help save the critically endangered vaquita marina porpoise. The patrols have drawn the ire of local fishermen.
The vaquita is nearing extinction due to gill nets set illegally to catch totoaba, a fish whose swim bladder commands astronomical prices because it is considered a delicacy in China.
Sea Shepherd published a video Friday showing a flotilla of fast, small fishing boats swarming around its larger vessel, the Farley Mowat.
Sea Shepherd said fishermen threw rocks that broke the ship’s windows and tossed gasoline bombs that briefly ignited a fire on the Farley Mowat’s deck.
Mexico’s navy confirmed the attack, which occurred Thursday.
Three weeks earlier, a group of small boats attacked the Farley Mowat with lead net weights. Some threw a net in front of the Farley Mowat to foul the propellers of the Sea Shepherd vessel, and others boarded the ship and apparently carried off some items.