Fishermen in the upper Gulf of California were familiar with the vaquita long before scientists were aware of its existence.
Individual vaquitas were incidentally taken in artisanal and commercial ﬁsheries.
While documented mortality of the vaquita in gillnet fisheries has been occurring since at least the 1950s, researchers noted that the vaquita has probably been incidentally caught since the 1930s. In the early years, most bycatch was in the gillnet ﬁshery for totoaba (Totoaba macdonaldi), a large member of the croaker family (Scianidae) endemic to the northern Gulf of California.
• Image | © Wildlife Artist Amber Marine, All Rights Reserved
• Sources | (Barlow, Rojas-Bracho, Piña, & Mesnick, 2010; Brownell, 1982; Vidal, 1995)