Time is quickly running out for the vaquita, with a group of scientists in 2007 stating that they believed there were only two years remaining in which to find a solution to saving this species (4). Some measures have already been implemented; the Mexican government created the Upper Gulf of California and Colorado River Delta Biosphere Reserve in 1993 to protect the vaquita and other endangered species (2). In 2005, the Government also created a vaquita reserve, the area of which partially overlaps with the Biosphere Reserve (10). A ban on gillnet fishing is currently being enforced within the vaquita reserve, but gillnetting and shrimp trawling continues in the Biosphere Reserve and elsewhere within the range of vaquita (10) (11). Whilst these are incredibly important steps in the battle to save the vaquita, if conservation efforts are not increased substantially the vaquita will become extinct (7). The Mexican government created the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (CIRVA): a group of scientists from the UK, Canada, US and Mexico (2). CIRVA recommends that the most critical measure for the conservation of the vaquita is to reduce by-catch to zero as soon as possible (2). This will need to be achieved by banning the use of all entangling fishing nets within the vaquitas range. Unfortunately, this is not an easy law to implement, as this will have a serious impact on the people whose livelihoods depend on fishing in the Gulf of California (2) (4). Funds are urgently needed to buy out these net fisheries and to develop economic alternatives for those people affected (4) (10). One can only hope that lessons are learnt from the tragic tale of the baiji and that necessary measures are implemented before the vaquita too is driven to extinction.
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