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Timeline of Vaquita Conservation Efforts

The Mexican government has enacted several conservation measures over the years in an effort to save the vaquita.

Two vaquitas swimming

Credit: © Thomas A. Jefferson/VIVA Vaquita

Despite the investment by the Government of Mexico, these actions may have slowed, but did not stop, the decline of the species. The Mexican government, U.S. government, conservation organizations and international gear experts are responding to the urgent need for new methods of fishing in the region.

  • 1993 - Mexico designated The Upper Gulf of California and Colorado River Delta Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • 2005 – Mexico established a Vaquita Refuge, where all commercial fishing is banned in core vaquita habitat.
  • 2008 – Mexico introduced the Species Conservation Action Plan for Vaquita (PACE Vaquita), a comprehensive protection and recovery effort, which includes a program to encourage fishermen to switch to fishing gear that does not threaten vaquitas.
  • 2015 - Mexico issued a two-year ban on the use of gillnets and longlines throughout the region where vaquitas live, implemented interagency enforcement coordinated by the Navy, and provided monetary compensation for fishermen and those involved in processing seafood.
  • 2016 - Efforts by the Mexican government are underway to extend the ban and to develop alternative fishing gear and livelihoods for the communities. Based on recommendations by the International Vaquita Recovery Team (CIRVA), an international expert panel has been convened to evaluate the design and implementation of the gear testing program and establish a comprehensive, transparent, full-scale gear testing program for finfish.

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