The vaquita can be saved from extinction.
The primary risk factor of the vaquita, (ﬁshery bycatch,) has been identiﬁed, and secondary risk factors should not prevent recovery if bycatch can be eliminated. However, CIRVA, (Comité Internacional para la Recuperación de la Vaquita,) has determined that the population is so low now that only a complete elimination of bycatch is likely to provide a reasonable level of assurance that the population will recover. This will require the complete elimination of entangling nets within the range of the species.
The government of Mexico is currently implementing a plan to accomplish this with a combination of ﬁshing permit buyouts, conversions to alternative ﬁshing methods, and at-sea enforcement. Mexico is looking to partner with other countries and with non-governmental conservation groups to accomplish this daunting task. If they are successful, this will be the ﬁrst time that any country will have eliminated bycatch to bring a species back from the brink of extinction while dealing with the social and economic wellbeing of their ﬁshermen.
• Image | © Barbara Taylor, NOAA Fisheries West Coast, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
• Sources | (EIA, 2016)