WCC 2016 Res 017 - Activity Report

General Information
IUCN Constituent: 
IUCN SSC Cetacean Specialist Group 2017-2020
IUCN Constituent type: 
IUCN Species Survival Commission 2017-2020
Period covered: 
2018
Geographic scope: 
North America and the Caribbean
Country/Territory: 
Mexico
United States of America
In implementing this Resolution your organization has worked/consulted with...
IUCN Members: 
Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales ( SEMARNAT ) / Mexico
Chicago Zoological Society ( ) / United States of America
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US Department of Commerce ( NOAA ) / United States of America
Association of Zoos and Aquariums ( AZA ) / United States of America
San Diego Zoo Global ( ) / United States of America
IUCN Commissions: 
IUCN Species Survival Commission 2017-2020 (SSC)
IUCN Secretariat: 
No
Other non-IUCN related organisations: 
The Marine Mammal Center (Sausalito, California), Marine Mammal Commission (Bethesda, Maryland), National Marine Mammal Foundation (San Diego, California), Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Aquafarms, Museo de la Ballena, WWF Mexico, World Animal Protection, Parley
Implementation
Indicate and briefly describe any actions that have been carried out to implement this Resolution: 
ActionDescriptionStatus
Education/Communication/Raising awarenessNearly all of the groups, organizations and individuals listed have in one way or another contributed to this. Of particular note, the Cetacean Specialist Group's website (http://www.iucn-csg.org/) has served as a go-to place for updated information on the vaquita conservation crisis, including the site for posting the reports of CIRVA. In addition, SEMARNAT, the Marine Mammal Commission, and the National Marine Mammal Foundation.On-going
Field activitiesRemoval of illegal and derelict fishing gear from area of vaquita occurrence, recovery and necropsy of dead vaquitas, support of Mexican enforcement agencies, implementation of effort to capture live vaquitas for protection in captive environment (this was suspended after 6 weeks, with no positive outcome) -- all other efforts mentioned are ongoingOn-going
FundraisingThe Marine Mammal Center has taken a lead role in this, and for the CPR (live-capture) work the National Marine Mammal Foundation co-led the fundraising work.Completed
Policy influencing/advocacyCIRVA has gone well beyond its scientific advisory role in recent years and worked hard along with NOAA in particular to advocate for stronger enforcement of fishing regulations and many other policy aspects (net removal, cooperation with CITES offices and enforcement agencies in the US and China/Hong Kong to interdict the illegal trade in totoaba swim bladders,- None -
Scientific/technical activitiesSupport for UNESCO World Heritage site evaluation (completed), regular convening and reporting by CIRVA (international vaquita recovery team) to provide oversight of field activities, population assessment, threat identification and tracking (all ongoing)- None -
What challenges have you encountered in implementing this Resolution and what measures have you taken to overcome them?: 
The vaquita has no economic value. The killing of vaquitas is not intentional. The economic value of the totoaba is extremely high so the incentive for illegal fishing is strong. Fishery management in the Upper Gulf has always been weak. Vaquitas are hard to detect and follow. All parties listed have done various things to overcome the challenges.
Identify and briefly describe what future actions are planned for the implementation of this Resolution: 
Future ActionDescription
Policy influencing/advocacyMany of the groups listed will continue to work to influence policies, promoting measures that would strengthen enforcement (including prosecution and harsh penalties for illegal fishing), enable local fishing communities to prosper without depending on fisheries that put vaquitas at risk, and halt the illegal commerce in totoaba swim bladders.
Scientific/technical activitiesEfforts by several groups including some in the Mexican government are continuing to remove gillnets from the vaquita's habitat, develop and field-test vaquita-safe fishing methods, monitor the population via passive acoustics, ensure carcasses are recovered and necropsied, and analyze the information and data collected to data to assess trends and identify ways to improve the prospects for species recovery.
Additional Information