breaking news
report an incident
Baja Life Magazine supports the protection, preservation and management of Baja California's magnificent natural resources. As a means to provide current information to our readers, the staff at Baja Life Online has created this website to continually update you on the many individuals, forward-thinking companies and NGOs that are working hard to balance the use of Baja’s unique eco-systems. Through education and appreciation, our goal is to manage these diverse environments in a sustainable manner that provides for existing and future generations.

EcoWatch 17

DOOMED FROM THE BEGINNING, the most evolved apex predator in the sea emerged as a menacing villain by name and reputation. Prior to 1570, the shark was known as the tiburon, a name taken from the Spanish. Soon tiburon was replaced by the German word shurke (meaning knave or villain) which then evolved into the modern name shark.With a name born from such malevolence, is it any wonder that sharks are so misunderstood?

Like most kids, I grew up believing that sharks were evil creatures to be hated and feared. I can only hope my childhood playmates do not operate longliners or sportfish sharks as a result of our maligned upbringing. It wasn’t until I watched sharks being wastefully massacred that my fear of them turned into compassion. In the following pages, you will gain insight into some of the efforts to restore sharks as a natural, necessary component in the great circle of life. I urge you to support these organizations, not only to save the sharks, but also to preserve the oceans and their marine life for our children. — Jenna Cavelle, Environmental Affairs


Ocean Revolution

“There are some revolutions which humanity accomplishes without quite knowing how, because it is everybody who takes them in hand.” - John F. Kennedy

Join the new wave of youth ocean protection and help us grow the OCEAN REVOLUTION by purchasing your wristbands today! Early reviews suggest they're quite hip and draw tremendous attention to the cause!

The wristbands come in batches of 25 at $1 each. You can give away or resell them to support OCEAN REVOLUTION. Keep the momentum of the wave rolling! Ocean Revolutionary Oswaldo Perez Puerto San Carlos, BCS hopes to “create a habit of conscience, the protection and exploitation of natural resources, in each human being that lives on this planet.”

We are asking people to wear their OCEAN REVOLUTION wristbands until World Oceans Day 2005 (June 8th) to show their passion, support and interest in ocean protection. We launch on that day. At a recent meeting in Baja, the international O C E A N R E V O L U T I O N Youth Leadership Council their goal at sharing a hopeful message about our oceans as widely possible through word of mouth, wristbands, stickers, magazines, television, radio and internet. Let's help them!

To purchase OR wristbands and stickers, send requests and $1 for each band or sticker (minimum of 25) to:

POB 324 • DAVENPORT, CA 95017

Be sure to indicate ADULT or YOUTH size and SPANISH or ENGLISH stickers. You can also follow the links on to order online.

Wallace "J." Nichols, PhD
Director, Pacific Ocean Region Blue Ocean Institute
Research Associate, California Academy of Sciences

Post Office Box 324 • Davenport, CA 95017
tel: 831.426.0337

OCEAN REVOLUTION is an international youth-led program developed to connect, inspire and empower a new wave of young leaders to protect our oceans. Oceans offer us unmatched beauty, abundance, diversity, and recreation and are among our planet's most precious resources. However, recent studies couldn’t be clearer: actions to safeguard our oceans and the life within must be taken immediately.

Working with Shark Fisherman and Their Communities

NOT TOO LONG AGO, conservation was considered a dirty word amongst anyone other than the staunchest eco-warrior. Local businessmen and local communities would often run for cover at the thought of conservation projects ruining their livelihoods. In Baja California, the concept of preservation was often left to some foreign “do-gooder” conservationist. It would commonly result in a trip home, cut short by “la migra,”.

Thankfully, scientists and conservation groups have learned that conservation has a far greater impact than just saving animals, if you are wise enough to take a global view and act locally. It’s is all about saving entire ecosystems.

Local fishing communities here in Baja California are an excellent example of a community reliant on natural resources in order to survive. In Baja, 90% of elasmobranches (sharks) that are fished are used for national consumption. Fins and skins are commonly exported shark products. Shark fisheries comprise the 10th largest industry in Mexico. A recent two-year intensive study conducted by shark biologist Dr. Robert Hueter indicates that at least 20 million sharks are killed in the Gulf of California each year. That’s 20% of the FAO estimate of world catch! These fisheries have grown tremendously in the last decade and as with many fisheries, the size of the catch has been depleted such that an estimated 80% of sharks caught in the Gulf region are pre-reproductive juveniles. Shark populations in Mexico are plummeting and are in serious trouble.

Sharks are particularly vulnerable to overexploitation because they mature slowly and have very low reproductive rates compared to other fish. Many apex predators are slow in developing sexually. Considering that sharks are migratory and travel all over the world without concern for borders or immigration laws, protecting sharks in North America won’t do much good if they just migrate down the border and become free game.

IEMANYA OCEANICA is a US based Non-Profit 501(c)(3) working on the conservation of sharks and rays in Mexico and the United States. IEMANYA is comprised of a team of Mexican, American, Canadian and English marine biologists, educators, fishermen and filmmakers. IEMANYA’s community-based conservation effort is the PESCADORES Y TIBURONES program, focused on the formation of a strong network of local artisanal fishermen with the goal of sustainable fishing and the conservation of sharks and rays. The program addresses the socio-economic consequences of shark conservation by working together will local communities to find solutions for coping in their struggle with growing economic demands in the face of diminishing resources. Diagnostic assessments are helping find alternative economic activities, for example, eco-tourism and aquaculture. The next step will be providing funding and education to form other sustainable businesses and better manage existing businesses.

A large part of the program is shark and marine environmental education. This aspect of the program empowers the fishing communities to manage their fisheries in a sustainable manner and encourage participation in conservation efforts. The IEMANYA team gives educational lectures and conducts community activities to instill a conservation ethic in adults and children.

In addition, public service announcements within the local media and documentary videos, produced by IEMANYA, serve as an additional educational tool.

The network involves communities in shark research, scientific analysis and dissemination of findings relevant to management solutions. Other activities such as collecting accurate catch data will aid in more objective advice to craft policies that support sustainable use of the rich marine resources of Baja California. Most importantly, all aspects of this program stimulate much needed collaborative efforts between scientists, policy makers, law enforcement and the local fishing communities to promote sustainable fishing of sharks and rays throughout Mexico.

To keep up to date with the project, or to learn more about IEMANYA, please visit You may also show your support by adopting a shark at — Luke Inman

Click here to download a Pdf of this article Featured in Baja Life Magazine.

>> Top
>> Back to Home



copyright © 1996-2008Baja Life Online. All rights reserved.