Found only in the Gulf of California, Mexico, the vaquita is listed in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as "Critically Endangered".
The largest cause of vaquita mortality is entanglement in gill nets used by fishermen for sharks and other fishes. An estimated 40 to 80 vaquita die in these gillnets (perhaps as much as one-sixth of the remaining population!) each year.
A long term collaboration between the Joint Venture for the Gulf of California
WWF, ~ the Fondo Mexicano para la Conservacisn de al Naturaleza ~ Conservation International, the CIRVA (International Vaquita Recovery) Committee and others, is working to remove threats facing the vaquita through a project known as the "Conservation and Sustainable Development Strategy for the Recovery of Vaquita Porpoise (Phocoena sinus) and its Habitat."
Realizing that removing many of the threats to the vaquita, especially gillnet fishing, creates a threat to the local economy in the coastal Mexican towns along the Gulf of California, the project has outlined four key elements that attempt to address both the biological and socioeconomic problems: