Analysis of Tradeoffs in Vaquita Conservation Policies in the Gulf of California, Mexico
World Wildlife Fund - Mexico
Gulf of California, Mexico
Mexico’s only endemic marine mammal, the vaquita (Phocoena sinus), is a porpoise widely cited as the most endangered cetacean in the world. With an estimated population of fewer than 100 individuals remaining in the Upper Gulf of California, mortality in the population results from accidental entanglement in shrimp and finfish gillnets threatens the species with extinction within 5 years. This project conducted a quantitative tradeoff analysis that assessed the impact of likely policy scenarios on both regional fishing revenue and recovery of the vaquita population. Using spatially explicit data, a spectrum of policies considered spatial restrictions, species-specific fishing closures, buyout programs, alternative fishing gears, and varying levels of compliance were modeled.
Results from this project provide a comparative evaluation that can help inform future management strategies; in application, findings were used to inform the Mexican government’s 2015 decision to implement fisheries policy measures attempting to advert the extinction of the vaquita.