Vaquitas as Bycatch

Photo of a man holding totoaba a vaquita caught in a net underneath.
(Omar Vidal)

Gillnets used to catch totoaba accidentally catch vaquitas too. The vaquita’s head fits perfectly in the holes in these nets, where they get stuck and drown. Fishing for the endangered totoaba was banned in 1975. Since 2013, black market demand for the totoaba’s swim bladders has skyrocketed, pushing the vaquita closer to extinction.