In July 2016, President Barack Obama and President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico announced billateral collaboration measures to protect the vaquita. As a follow up to this meeting and to the recommendations CIRVA presented in its latest vaquita report, Mexico's National Institute of Fisheries (INAPESCA) and WWF Mexico established an international committee of experts to further develop and urgently implement vaquita-safe fishing technologies.
The experts committee will advise the Mexican government on improving fishing techniques not harmful to vaquita, including those that INAPESCA and WWF Mexico have together developed over the last years.
This independent committee has been charged with improving existing vaquita-safe fishing technologies (such as the small trawl to catch shrimp and traps and other gear for fish) to substitute gillnets which will be permanently prohibited starting September in the Upper Gulf of California, the only place on Earth where the vaquita exists.
The committee is comprised of experts from Texas A&M University, NOAA South East Fisheries Center, Swedish University of Agriculture Science, Technological University of Denmark, Canada's Fisheries and Marine Institute, New England Aquarium, FAO, INAPESCA and WWF..
A protocol and guidelines to catch shrimp with vaquita-safe technology is expected to be ready soon.