• Shannon Chapman

The Whales of Cortez

Updated: Feb 10




Savethewaves.org brings the topic Ghost Nets



Here at Save The Waves, we dare you to watch the above video and not bawl like a baby. The twisted acrylic fish catching net wrapped around Valentina’s dorsal, fluke, pectoral fins, and tail in an ultimate form of bondage. This is what being buried alive must feel like. Humans had neglectfully compromised her life with a stray net she had accidentally got caught up in along her migratory path. In a twist of irony, she wouldn’t have been able to survive had she not been spotted by a second batch of humans who happened to be vacationing in the vast Sea of Cortez during her incredible time of need.


Why Is The Sea of Cortez So Special?


Representatives from Save The Waves spent this winter in southern Baja, Mexico, where the Pacific Ocean and The Sea of Cortez meet. We visited the same location where Michael Fishbach experienced this life-altering encounter with Valentina, the humpback whale seeing first hand the state of ghost netting, fishing nets that have been left or lost in the ocean by fishermen, along with further data in order to see how we can contribute to the current situation furthering our quests to clean up surf ecosystems around the world.





The Gulf of California otherwise known as The Sea of Cortez hosts many of the world’s keystone species: Humpback whale, California grey whale, Orca, Leatherback sea turtle, Great white shark , Humboldt squid, Blue whale











Why We Need Whales

Serving functions like cleaning and balancing the air we breathe, they transport important microbial organisms throughout the world balancing oceanic eco-systems.



Gray whales alone have the longest known migration of any mammal. They travel 10,000-12,000 miles round trip every year between their winter calving lagoons in the warm waters of Mexico and their summer feeding grounds in the cold Arctic seas.





















Commercial Fishing: The Real Issue



overfishing[ oh-ver-fish-ing ]verb(used with object) to fish (an area) excessively; to exhaust the supply of usable fish in (certain waters): Scientists are concerned that fishing boats may overfish our coastal waters.


An example of our insatiable seafood consumption can be exemplified by commercialized fisheries to the north: Scandanavians are heavy fish consumers with a proud heritage living amongst their surrounding Arctic waters. Unfortunately, they’ve learned to master fishing techniques to the point of selling their culture out. Sophisticated committees like The Nordic Council of Ministers who oversee and enforce strict fishing regulations in the regions: Norway, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, and Newfoundland work their natural resources with the latest in commercial fishing technology. In return, it’s no wonder Norway’s commercial fishing and export industry made record-breaking profits in 2019.



Commercial fishing robs our oceans of their soul. Shareholders seemingly prostitute our seas; losing integrity in the wake of being traded on the stock market like cheap banks.


What’s The Plan, Stan?


Great Whale Convervancy.org protects great whales and their vital habitats returning the global whale population striving to restore numbers to pre-whaling abundance.


The Strategy


  1. Preventing Net Entanglements More than 300,000 cetaceans die because of entanglements in commercial fishing nets annually. Save the Waves has joined efforts with The Ocean Defenders Alliance whose primary purpose is retrieving “ghost nets” and stray crabbing nets within The Sea of Cortez and along America’s coastlines.

  2. Irradicate night-time shipping where whale feeding occurs.

  3. Educate and influence stakeholders and politicians who hold the power to modify sea shipping lanes.

  4. Free, positive public relations rewarding the fisheries who’ve altered their business practices more ethically by publicizing progress in the general media increasing the value of a commercial fishery stock.

  5. Establish official World Heritage Listed status backed by United Nations (UNESCO) protecting spots where great whales breed and nurture their young; with physical incarceration and a minimum of 1 year in prison.





Save The Waves proudly collaborates with Great Whale Conservancy




Save The Waves are dedicated wave-hunters on the lookout for like-minded people to join our tribe while protecting surf ecosystems, to help our efforts in protecting and respecting our delicate surf ecosystems, because we’re all in this together.

By joining Save The Waves newsletter, we’ll be able to update you on the progress we’re making with stories like Micheal Fishbach and Valentina the humpback whale.


Download our Save The Waves phone app because you take surf ecology as seriously as we do.


Comment below if you’ve had sea wildlife or whale 🐳 excursion footage

showing and helping others to put forth the seriousness of investing

in surf ecosystems everywhere!

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