Working for an Upper Gulf of California without bycatch

© Chris Johnson

To save the vaquita, we have to protect it's habitat

The presence of breeding vaquitas, verified in 2017, indicates that there's still a window of opportunity to save this marine mammal. Thanks to the public recommendations of WWF and other NGOs, the Mexican Government put in place a permanent gillnet ban; but the enforcement of the ban remains a challenge, as well as the retrieval of ghost and abandoned gillnets.

WWF has been working with local communities, civil society, the international community and the Mexican Government to help protect the vaquita and promote sustainable fisheries in the Upper Gulf of California. We are committed with these efforts in order to save the vaquita from extinction.

© Tom Jefferson

Ghost nets retrieval

WWF is part of the efforts to retrieve ghost or abandoned nets that are a serious threat to many marine species, including the vaquita. This is operation  has the collaboration and experience of local fishermen, and the support of the Mexican Government, the Instituto de Ecología y Cambio Climático, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and the Whale Museum. 


Alternative fishing gear

Local communities are amongst the most powerful guardians of the natural heritage. WWF is working closely with fishermen communities to design sustainable fishing gear and safeguard the habitat of the vaquita. 


Acoustic monitoring

WWF supports the acoustic monitoring led by Instituto de Ecología y Cambio Climático that allows to estimate vaquita population trends; it's an essential tool to promote conservation actions for the species, like the gillnet ban. 


The dangers of bycatch

More than 500 scientific studies document marine mammal bycatch in gillnets, in 90 countries. This situation affects 70 different species, including whales, porpoises, dolphins and seals. The vaquita is part of the porpoise family, from which only 8 species remain.


San Felipe

San Felipe is a fishing community from the Upper Gulf of California, whose members are working hard to preserve the productivity of their sea and their livelihood.