Subject: Mexico declares emergency in w (fwd)

Michael Williamson (pita@whale.simmons.edu)
Wed, 19 Feb 1997 12:18:38 -0500 (EST)

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J. Michael Williamson
   Principal Investigator-WhaleNet <http://whale.wheelock.edu>
   Associate Professor-Science
   Wheelock College, 200 The Riverway, Boston, MA 02215
voice: 617.734.5200, ext. 256
fax:    617.734.8666, or 617.566.7369
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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 19 Feb 97 11:56:00 GMT 
From: r.mallon1@genie.com
To: marmam@uvvm.uvic.ca, pita@whale.simmons.edu
Subject: Mexico declares emergency in w

Mexico declares emergency in whale, dolphin deaths

    MEXICO CITY, Feb 18 (Reuter) - Mexican environmental
officials said on Tuesday they have declared an environmental
emergency due to the deaths of whales and dolphins in the Gulf
of California.
     Authorities in northern Sinaloa state suspect the marine
mammals may be dying from a chemical dumped in the sea by drug
traffickers. The chemical, known as NK-19, is used to mark drug
loads for nighttime detection from the air by other drug
traffickers.
     "This takes effect within an environmental emergency
scheme," Luis Fuello of the Environment Ministry's prosecuting
office in Culiacan, Sinaloa, told the television news programme
24 Hours. "This type of process is very rare."
     He did not provide statistics of the number of marine mammal
deaths but called them "massive."
     Under the emergency plan, a special team of scientists will
be assembled to study the cause of death.
     The Gulf of California, also known as the Sea of Cortes, is
the body of water between the Baja California peninsula and the
Mexican mainland. Culiacan is at the southern end of the gulf on
the mainland side.
     The gulf is rich in diverse marine life and is a main
corridor for cocaine and other drug shipments destined for the
United States.
     Workers for the city of Culiacan on Sunday buried six whales
and five dolphins that had washed ashore over the weekend, the
Mexico City newspaper Excelsior reported. They avoided burning
the dead animals so that scientists could study them, the
newspaper said.