MOREHEAD CITY – Party with a purpose with “Beers for a Porpoise” from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Crystal Coast Brewing, 702 Arendell St.
The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is partnering with the brewery for the fundraising event to help save the vaquita porpoise, which is nearing extinction with fewer than 30 left in the world.
“Beers for a Porpoise” is an effort to spread awareness about the vaquita, a critically endangered aquatic mammal similar to but smaller than the dolphin, and to raise much-needed funds for projects to save these animals from extinction.
“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,” said Aly Mack, aquarium volunteer coordinator who is organizing the event. “We heard that Billy, one of the managers at Crystal Coast Brewing Co., was interested in giving back to the community and being involved in wildlife conservation. So, we got in touch and realized it was a perfect fit.”
There will be a special presentation starting at 6 p.m. by Duke Marine Lab Director Andy Read, a member of the International Committee for the Recovery of the vaquita.
Admission is free. Urban Street Eats will be catering the event, and $1 from each Crystal Coast Brewing Co. beer will go to Vaquita CPR, 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 Co. 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.
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.
Help is still needed, which is why the aquarium and Crystal Coast Brewing Co. partnered for the event and several similar events have been held across the country at other Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited facilities. The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher held a similar event earlier this summer.