Mexico has announced that it is to permanently ban the use of gillnets in the waters where the highly endangered vaquita is found, in an attempt to save the species from extinction.
The vaquita, which translates from spanish as “little cow”, is a species of porpoise, whose numbers are thought to have dropped to around 60 surviving individuals.
It is only found in the northern part of the Gulf of California where gillnets are used to catch a species of fish, the totoaba, whose future is also under threat.
The totoaba is highly prized in Asia, especially China, where its swim bladder can sell for several thousand dollars.
The ban offers a chance to save both species but this will only be achieved with strict enforcement and monitoring to prevent illegal poaching.
Photos taken under permit (Oficio No. DR/488/08) from the Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Resursos Naturales (SEMARNAT), within a natural protected area subject to special management and decreed as such by the Mexican Government.