"Beers for a Porpoise" set to raise funds and awareness for aquatic animals nearing extinction

(Pixabay photo via MGN)

PINE KNOLL SHORES, Carteret County - Party for a purpose with "Beers for a Porpoise" and join the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores and Crystal Coast Brewing Company for a fund raising event to help save the vaquita porpoise.

The vaquita porpoise similar to, but smaller than, the dolphin and is nearing extinction with fewer than 30 left in the world.

"Beers for a Porpoise" is an effort to spread awareness about the world's smallest, most critically endangered aquatic mammal and to raise much needed funds for projects to save these animals from extinction," Aly Mack, aquarium volunteer coordinator, said. "We wanted to create this event to bring awareness to the community that every animal matters and the vaquita's disappearance could have an effect on other animal populations."

The aquarium is partnering with the brewery for this special event which will include food, fun and information, and is to be held September 28 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the brewing company on 702 Arendell Street in Morehead City. Food will be available for purchase by Urban Street Eats of Swansboro.

There will also be a special presentation by Duke Marine Lab Director Andy Read, a member of the International Committee for the Recovery of the vaquita, who will speak about the crisis at 6 p.m.

"We heard that Billy, one of the managers at Crystal Coast Brewing Company, was interested in giving back to the community and being involved in wildlife conservation.," Mack said. "So, we got in touch and realized it was a perfect fit."

The local establishment is contributing $1 from every brewery beer sold to the National Marine Mammal Foundation's VaquitaCPR, a conservation, protection and recovery action plan for vaquita.

"It's a great opportunity to get together, and we are excited to partner with a great local organization. We're delighted to be able to share our space for the night and hope to bring awareness to causes such as the critical endangerment of the vaquita," Crystal Coast Brewing Company shared in a statement.

The vaquita is a porpoise only found in the Gulf of California off the coast of Mexico; it has been in trouble for some time due to illegal fishing of the Totoaba - a large fish similar in size to the porpoise.

The Government of Mexico adopted an action plan that would allow the International Committee for the Recovery of the vaquita to attempt to bring in and protect as many porpoise as possible.

Officials from the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores said it's a risky endeavor involving the finding, catching, housing and caring for vaquita. If the funds can be raised, the operation could take place starting this October in conjunction with ongoing efforts to remove illegal fishing gear in the Gulf of California.

The North Carolina Aquariums, through the North Carolina Aquarium Society, have contributed $10,000, and member contributions have reached $1,300.

Volunteers insist help is still needed, which is why the aquarium and Crystal Coast Brewing Company partnered for the event. Several similar events have been held across the country at other Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited facilities.

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