Mexico has tried various things to help the vaquita population recover: it declared a refuge, later stepped up its efforts and banned gill-nets throughout the vaquita’s range, sending its navy and collaborating with NGOs for enforcement. But illegal fishing continues to this day. Totoaba are frequently found discarded in large numbers (only their swim bladders are of value), indicating that poaching is still rampant. Mexico’s enforcement efforts are inadequate; poachers have to be caught red-handed in order to be apprehended. If illegal fishing gear is found on land, for example, no actions can be taken as it would only be illegal to use the gear in the water.

On June 30, 2017, the Mexican government announced a permanent ban on gill-nets in the area. New measures also finally prohibit the transport of illegal fishing gear, regulate landing sites and monitoring and ban night time fishing, even for recreational fishing. However, subsequent changes have seen the protected “zero tolerance” area shrink, and illegal fishing continues.