Demand from China drives disastrous overfishing of sea cucumbers

FERN’s latest story, in collaboration with National Geographic, takes readers inside the world of the illegal sea-cucumber trade, showing how demand for the delicacy in China is driving a global market that threatens to wipe out many species of the marine animal.(No paywall) 

The last days of the vaquita

Despite a last-ditch effort by a group of radical conservationists, the vaquita — a small porpoise found only in Mexico’s Gulf of California — is going extinct, and will likely disappear this year, reports Ben Goldfarb in FERN’s latest story, published with Pacific Standard. No paywall

Costa Rica pledges to protect sharks from poachers

Costa Rica announced on Monday that it will support the conservation listing of all proposed shark and ray species at the Convention of Migratory species meeting later this month. Over 5,000 people signed a petition calling on Costa Rica, where shark poaching has been prevalent, to support greater shark protections at the international meeting.

As sturgeon wane, caviar poaching in the Ozarks

The American paddlefish, a relative of the sturgeon that looks like a prehistoric marine reptile, is the prey in the insatiable international market for caviar, writes Michelle Nijhuis. She describes a poaching frenzy on the Osage River in central Missouri, where hundreds of pounds of roe were sold to racketeers who labeled it as Russian caviar worth $300 an ounce. The paddlefish is the latest species to be decimated to satisfy the carving for caviar.