The vaquita (Phocoena sinus) is considered the world’s most endangered marine mammal. It is the smallest member of the porpoise family endemic to the upper part of the Gulf of California. The current population is estimated at less than 30 individuals. The primary reasons for the species decline includes limited habitat and incidental mortalities associated with illegal gillnet fishing activities. Since 2008, the Mexican government has taken environmental and economic actions to protect the vaquita’s focusing in reducing by-catch deaths to zero. In 2015, a federal Agreement decreed by the Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación (SAGARPA in Spanish) prohibited the use of any fishing gillnets for two years, affecting severely the local human communities because in the region the coastal fisheries represent 40% of the regional PIB, besides that 50% of the local inhabitants are devoted to this activity. Recently, an economical compensation is giving to the fishing permits owners if they do not continue with their fishing activities. However none of this actions and agreements have considered social and economic solutions for the local inhabitants of this region, which includes three communities: San Felipe, Golfo de Santa Clara and Puerto Peñasco. If there is not enacted a change of paradigm of the conservation programs, focusing in the wellbeing of the local fishing communities then the vaquita could be the second marine mammal species to disappear due to human activities.
Rodríguez-Quiroz, Gerardo; Valenzuela-Quiñonez, Wenceslao; González-Ocampo, Héctor A.; and Ortega-Rubio, Alfredo
"Can the Vaquita Be Saved From Extinction?,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 12
, Article 13.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol12/iss2/13