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Meet the Women Fighting to Protect Sharks in Mexico's Sea of ​​Cortez

It’s called the Bahía de los Sueños – the Bay of Dreams – and you’ll soon see why. We arrived at dawn when the water lapped softly against the shore, there was a light breeze, the tide was low and the fishermen were halfway there. Here, in Baja California, is one of the richest areas of marine biodiversity in Mexico—and protecting it is more urgent than ever.

You might think that protecting this bay is a local concern, but the women of Orgcas have made it clear to me that this is not the case. Founded and led by women of various ages, nationalities and educational backgrounds, this nonprofit organization has been working to protect marine life since 2021, despite the stories of its members and their diverse efforts going back farther place. Porfiria Gómez, director of Orgcas, told me: “We came together as a group of stakeholders with different backgrounds and saw that many goals were being neglected.”

We met at the Ensenada de los Muertos, 1 hour drive from La Paz, the capital of Baja California Sur. We talk about oceans, ocean conservation, and the intimacy each of them has with the greater ocean. I learned that Orgcas arose out of a series of chances and coincidences. “Our purpose is to preserve and protect, to analyze problems and find solutions,” Gomez said. Maybe the path to get here isn’t as simple as the mission itself, but what’s certain is that these women are all working for a common cause: protecting sharks.

But progress on this front requires building trust. In the past, when research teams have collected data in these communities, the results have sometimes raised concerns, leading to fishing licenses being revoked without notice. Many locals were therefore skeptical of the researchers and initially reluctant to work with Orgcas. After lengthy conversations, they have been able to work out a solution to ensure the sustainability of the area’s sharks and families. “Tourism is a great option to bring people into this project,” Gomez said. “Today, whoever doesn’t know that the sea is threatened for various reasons is part of the problem. We need to realize that the sea needs us and that there are things we can all do.” Proyecto Tiburón has secured funds to donate to fishermen in this community At least two pangas to help them transition to an economy based on sustainable tourism.


When you talk to Orgcas, you learn their stories How intertwined. I remember a conversation the day before: “It’s a process of coming together,” said project coordinator and communications expert Elena Herrán. What started as a five-person project has grown, changed and evolved. “There is a lack of communication about science,” said Mariana Vélez, Colombia’s tourism director and communications expert. “Scientists conduct research and publish incredibly important information about ecosystems, environmental threats, etc., but people don’t understand it because science has long been confined to academia. Now we realize that making science accessible to everyone is How important.”

Orgcas works around four pillars: science, Education, tourism and communication. It is here that protection becomes the most important issue. Beyond the academic component, the group of women also aims to open up spaces where this scientific knowledge is accessible. “Orgcas is breaking the mold,” added Orgcas Scientific Director Frida Lara, who has a PhD in marine biology. “I come from that old school where conservation was understood as telling people what to do, which is why many conservation programs fail.” Lara has devoted her life to studying marine life and is aware of the work that still needs to be done:“ These communities are ambassadors of our vision.”

Proyecto Tiburón is Orgcas current One of the key points, but not the only one. Different initiatives have joined the program to promote its documentation, research and preservation efforts. “If someone stood here today and asked for money to save the whales, everyone would donate,” said Gádor Muntaner, a Spanish oceanographer who specializes in sharks. “If you ask for help to save a shark, no one will.”

Dynamite fishing, underwater mining, and unchecked tourism and development are other major threats to the ocean and these species. One of Orgcas’ most ambitious goals is to create a nature preserve along the region’s Pacific coast and Gulf of California. “With the help of fishermen, we are working to promote the protection of the area, thereby regulating activities, banning underwater mining, restricting industrial transport to certain areas, and protecting more and more of this area,” said Porfiria Gómez. After a few days with Orgcas, it became clear that Dream Bay was more than just a name. With their pioneering work caring for and protecting the ocean, the Orgcas’ dream is to protect the places that bring all of us together, and to ensure that future generations of women can follow in their footsteps.



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