Visit our new website:

Retrieving 'ghost nets' to help save the vaquita

  • Fri, 13 Oct 2017 14:36

The vaquita is the world’s most critically endangered marine mammal, with fewer than 30 individuals remaining. It lives only in a small portion of the Upper Gulf of California, in Mexico.  

Vaquita populations have plummeted due to one threat—gillnets. Recognizing this threat, the Mexican government imposed a gillnet ban in vaquita habitat in July 2017. However, these nets, which hang like walls in the water and catch marine life indiscriminately, are still being used to supply the illegal trade of totoaba, a fish in high demand on China’s black markets. In addition to these active nets, there are also countless lost or abandoned gillnets, called "ghost nets” in vaquita habitat. Vaquitas can’t see these nets, and therefore they get tangled and drown. This bycatch of vaquita in gillnets has driven vaquita numbers from over 550 in 1997 to less than 30 today.

As part of WWF’s ongoing vaquita conservation efforts, we are cooperating in an effort to retrieve ghost nets from the vaquita’s habitat, alongside partners like Sea Shepherd, Parley for the Oceans, the Mexican Commission on Natural Protected Areas, and  local fishermen.

“Pangueros” (experienced local fishermen on board of small vessels) locate the ghost nets, mark them with a buoy, and radio the coordinates to a larger vessel which then retrieves the nets from the water. As of September 2017, a total of 432 nets have been successfully retrieved.

WWF’s ghost net retrieval program has recently been improved by using side-scan sonar. This technology will help detect ghost nets more efficiently, and benefit Vaquita CPR (Conservation, Protection, Recovery) operations by ensuring a gillnet-free environment for the vaquitas, and the US Navy dolphins that have been trained to help locate them.

World Wildlife Fund Stories


Harvard Business Review

Related Stories

Atrazine alters the sex ratio in Blanchard's cricket frogs
  • Sat, 14 Oct 2017 09:45

A study found that Blanchard's cricket frogs are highly sensitive to atrazine. When exposed, there were up to 55 percent fewer males than females comp...

Solar research: NASA sounding rocket instrument spots signatures of long-sought small solar flares
  • Sat, 14 Oct 2017 07:46

Like most solar sounding rockets, the second flight of the FOXSI instrument -- short for Focusing Optics X-ray Solar Imager -- lasted 15 minutes, with...

Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery and the Zambezi-Kazuma Landscape Conservation Project
  • Sat, 14 Oct 2017 03:34

Dr. Joseph Okori Oct 13 2017 read more

Gutters teem with inconspicuous life
  • Sat, 14 Oct 2017 01:35

Scientists have shown that Parisian street gutters are oases of microscopic life, home to microalgae, fungi, sponges, and mollusks. Grouped into commu...

Saving vaquita: Retrieving ghost nets as dramatic new operation gets underway
  • Fri, 13 Oct 2017 23:37

The vaquita is the world’s most critically endangered marine mammal, with fewer than 30 individuals remaining. It lives only in a small portion ...

Free Weekend - Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon® Wildlands
  • Fri, 13 Oct 2017 22:43

Play Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon® Wildlands for FREE starting now through Sunday at 1PM Pacific Time. You can also pickup Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon&re...

Tweets can help predict the outcome of soccer matches
  • Fri, 13 Oct 2017 22:06

Twitter activity can help predict the result of soccer matches when combined with betting market prices, new study shows. The tone of Twitter posts ca...

Dr Mahathir mocks Najib over his ‘save US economy’ remark
  • Fri, 13 Oct 2017 21:22

The former premier hits back at his Umno critics for claiming he paid Lim Kit Siang RM1 billion to become PH chairman. Top news stories local and fro...

Help Kids Navigate the Digital Classroom with Edmodo
  • Fri, 13 Oct 2017 15:44

Good stepping stone to LMS classes Techlearning RSS Feed

IFAW donors visit Bejing Raptor Rescue Center
  • Fri, 13 Oct 2017 07:34

Laurie Wilson Oct 11 2017 IFAW supporters Adrien & Gary Amadeo were tr...

Google Offers 'Help' to Industries It Helps to Destroy
  • Fri, 13 Oct 2017 06:28

Google offers $ 1 billion for training, coaching for people displaced by digitizing economy that Google is creating. Feed: All Latest

News Categories
Latest Stories