While there is general agreement among some policy makers and conservation advocates that fishing practices are the core problem, actual empirical research on the impacts of fishing on the vaquita is scarce and did not play a significant role in the vaquita program’s design.


For the inhabitants of San Felipe, Santa Clara, and Puerto Peñasco, the aggressive and sweeping nature of the new regulatory regime signifies exclusion from traditional livelihoods based on marine resources, an increase in poverty, including a decline in health and nutrition, and an increase in physical, emotional and mental illness. Quite simply, fishing is the only viable economic activity in a desert region where domestic tourism is limited to Easter week and international tourism is scant and unpredictable.


For the more than 3,000 small-scale fishers whose gillnet mode of fishing has been identified by those implementing the program as the key threat to vaquita survival, the PACE-Vaquita program has no legitimacy, as it fails to acknowledge other factors than impact the ecology of the delta and the flora and fauna that depend on it, including the vaquita.





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