Saving Our Sharks A.C. is a non-profit organization that has been in operation for more than 10 years, which has been supported by various allies in the government, social and private sectors in Quintana Roo and Mexico. These allies actively support the work and mission of this organization, which are mainly focused on shark research and conservation in the Mexican Caribbean.
For more than 10 years, monitoring and research efforts have been carried out in the northern zone of the Mexican Caribbean. Through telemetric techniques and thanks to the support of scientific research centers and universities, citizen science projects, authorities and tour operators; it has been possible to integrate a comprehensive monitoring network that continues to grow.
1. We have an acoustic telemetry system along the entire coastline, from the north of the State to the border with Belize. The technology used in this system is universal, so any tagged organism with transmitters can be detected by it.
2. Ultrasonic tags complementary to the receivers system have been installed on more than 44 pregnant sharks, which allows them to be monitored in space and time and thus to know which are their breeding areas.
3. In collaboration with the Texas Aquarium and MOTE Marine Laboratory, we installed GPS tags on 5 tiger sharks, making it possible to recognize their movements in real time.
4. DNA analyzes were performed and they confirmed the relationship between Playa del Carmen bull shark with other populations in the Gulf of Mexico.
5. Isotope analysis of samples taken from sharks in Playa del Carmen have been carried out, with which their diet and feeding areas have been determined.
6. We created the first Bull Sharks Identification Guide in the Mexican Caribbean, with which it is possible for the diving community to collaborate in the individual monitoring of each shark.
Thanks to the participation of hundreds of divers, a permanent monitoring program for sharks has been established in bullshark season.
We have an activities agenda established in conjunction with education authorities at the municipal and state levels, NGO, planetariums, and allies from the private sector, as well as permanent volunteer collaborations with local Universities.
1. Since its beginning in 2014, the Environmental Education program has reached more than 120,000 people. through informative talks in schools of all levels and in public interventions.
2. “Shark Months” have been held for 4 years in the Planetariums, state scientific outreach centers.
3. We have participated in various events in conjunction with other NGO that seek to inform and promote awareness with the local community, such as: photography exhibitions, documentary screenings and public interventions with dynamics aimed at making people know and value not only sharks but the entire environment promoting sustainable lifestyle alternatives.
4. In order to have a greater social impact, we actively collaborate with Universities in the area that teach careers related to tourism, offering conferences and workshops focused on the non-extractive use of natural resources and the benefits that this brings.
5. Documentary materials have been produced with national and international producers, making possible the diffusion of conservation experiences and a global shark conservation movement.
6. For 6 years, more than 800 divers who dive with bull sharks in Playa del Carmen have been trained in order to carry out an activity ordered under good practices and in the basic biology of sharks.
7. We organized the First Sharks, Chimeras and Rays Latin American Congress in conjunction with the Mexican Society of Cartilaginous Fishes.
Every year we have supported touristic management and professionalization for tourism service providers that offer bull sharks activities in Playa del Carmen. Prior to the season, training is offered for each sector (captains, guides and promoters) as well as information points for tourists on the regulations of the activity.
1. Together with authorities and academics and through workshops with Playa del Carmen diving community, the first Todo Prácticas Manual for with Bull Sharks Diving was drafted, which includes safety protocols, emergency protocols and rules for ordering the activity.
2. Currently there is the collaboration of 50 tour operators in Playa del Carmen that participate in the community management program for bull shark activities.
3. In Solidaridad, bull sharks diving activity has an schedule system implemented to carry out the two diving modalities, which is respected by the entire community.
4. A community fund was created through donations (bracelets) by visiting divers, which is intended for the conservation and research of sharks in the Mexican Caribbean.
5. Through the diving community participación, a constant monitoring network has been established that watches over the sharks during their stay in Quintana Roo.
6. Specialized courses have been designed to certify divers who dive with bull sharks, endorsed by the labor authorities. In the case of the attraction modality, it certifies the divers who can carry out this modality.
Intersectoral actions for the conservation of sharks are made under established agreements.
1. An agreement was reached with the commercial group Chedraui (national grocery chain) to stop the sale of shark and dogfish in all its stores nationwide.
2. Thanks to Alejandro Zozaya, ex-AMResorts CEO collaboration, all shark products were removed from their menus in 84 hotels in Mexico and the Caribbean.
3. In agreement with fishing cooperatives of Isla Mujeres, 5 No-Shark Fishing polygons, 9,000 hectares, were created within the Mexican Caribbean Biosphere Reserve.
In collaboration with the fishing permit holders, No- Sharks Fishing polygon is created annually off the coast of Playa del Carmen to protect the pregnant females that remain there during the winter season.
We participate in coordination with various government institutions at federal, state and municipal levels in national and international forums and workshops for shark conservation in the Mexican Caribbean.
1. Over two years, active work has been done with other Civil Organizations and authorities to achieve a modification of NOM-029-PESCA-2006, which lists the use of sharks and rays protocolos in Mexico, with the purpose of generating greater protection of sharks in Quintana Roo.
2. We collaborated in the creation of the Mexican Caribbean Biosphere Reserve, managing to include Playa del Carmen within it, thanks to the presence of sharks, as well as the results of the management programs and monitoring.
3. A model for interaction activities with wildlife was created, which has been delivered to the authorities for their consideration within the Management Program of the Mexican Caribbean Biosphere Reserve.
4. A management model was generated for the activity of swimming with the American crocodile in the Banco Chinchorro Biosphere Reserve, making it possible to carry out this activity.
5. In 2016 we were invited to present the conference “Sharks and tourism in natural protected areas” at the Conference of the Parties on Biodiversity (COP13).
6. We participated in the Conservation of sharks in the Mexican Caribbean, Gulf of California and North Pacific meeting in 2017, led by the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas, where the Mexican Caribbean and Saving Our Sharks were designated for the pilot program to design a conservation strategy based on tourism.
7. Since 2019 we have been part of the Revillagigedo National Park Advisory Council.
There is constant participation in the workshops organized by the Municipal Directorates of Tourism and Ecology in the Municipality of Solidaridad.