Nakawe Project & Our Mission
Together we can make a significant impact in the fight against shark fishing and their declining populations.
In 2015 a team of ocean advocates started Nakawe Project, a Non-Profit organization dedicated to stop the uncontrolled and unsustainable practice of shark fishing.
Nakawe Project’s mission is driven by the urge to help humans preserve biodiversity. One of the main pillars of our mission consists of promoting ecotourism as an alternative source of income to fishing - this shift not only reduces fishing activities, but also directly minimizes the amount of bycatch which sharks so often fall victim to.
The dramatic decrease in shark populations around the world due to overfishing and the lack of protection has propelled Nakawe Project to create a conservation campaign: “Game Over Fishing”.
For Nakawe Project’s team, the privilege to observe a shark swimming underwater in their natural habitat is an incredible experience but more than that, we also recognize that as apex predators, sharks play a critical role in the ecosystem by maintaining the balance of species below them in the food chain. Sharks help remove the weak and the sick as well as keep the balance amongst other ocean predators, ensuring species diversity. They serve as a key indicator for Ocean health.
Unfortunately, sharks are also one of the least protected set of species, yet they are increasingly targeted for their meat and fins by fisheries around the world. Shark species desperately need more global and local protection measures.
Game Over Fishing aims to stop the unsustainable, unmanaged harvesting of shark species all over the world.
Our Goals & Objectives
Nakawe Project leads conservation initiatives through direct intervention in affected areas, through educational programs, specific research and studies, as well as through the development of media communication campaigns to drive up public awareness.
Our goals are as follows:
International Shark Meat Consumption Reduction:
Shark meat is a popular product in human diets around the world. Neonates, young and adult sharks are sold in supermarkets, restaurants, bars and fish markets in many parts of the world under ambiguous and often deceptive commercial names.
Nakawe Project is leading several initiatives to reduce shark meat consumption through:
- Research (Shark Meat DNA and Mercury Levels Studies)
- Shark Meat Labelling Petition Campaign
- Awareness & Public Engagement Campaign
International Policy & Fisheries Management Engagement:
Due to the highly migratory nature of sharks, management and conservation policies must be designed in a domestic, regional, and global context. In this regard, Nakawe Project works to lead processes in regional and international fisheries forums to globalize shark conservation and management policies.
Nakawe Project actively engages in Fisheries Management initiatives to influence and support the implementation of minimum size catch limits, sustainable quotas as well as complete fishing bans for highly vulnerable species.
Fishermen Community Engagement
Nakawe Project’s core mission is to find actionable solutions. We are actively engaged with local communities to develop sustainable alternatives such as ecotourism platforms that directly support development in highly dependent coastal shark fishing communities.
We aim to protect shark habitats: Protection of key bearing, interaction and reproduction sites for sharks through ecotourism and citizen science.
As such, Nakawe Project work with artisanal fishermen in coastal communities to collect research data (Fin ID, traceability, buyers & intermediates, shark species seasonality and life cycles etc).
In order to achieve sustainable change in a national, regional, and global context, it is necessary to create greater environmental awareness across all sectors of society, from fishermen down on the ground all the way to politicians as well as the general public. The solid support of every part of society is necessary to counter the resistance of economic forces seeking to maintain the status quo.
Media Communication Campaigns
Driving environmental awareness & educating the general public at a regional or even global scale is one of Nakawe Project’s critical pillars in achieving a positive impact. Media communication campaigns can have an enormous role in engendering an understanding of critical issues and thus shape public opinion and underlying sentiment towards them.
Through the use of social media channels and other forms of visual arts such as photojournalism and documentary film, we aim to raise important issues that might otherwise never be debated by the public.
Our media communication campaigns are also a great way to bring people together and gather collective engagement through shared interests and objectives.
The work of NAKAWE PROJECT has been shown and filmed by international documentaries, books, radios and magazines such as:
- SharkWater Extinction - By Rob Stewart
- Heroes Invisibles, TV2 Spain
- UHMTV Show 5 is a news magazine written, hosted and produced by Journalism students at UH Manoa.
- Surfing Nation Magazine, Costa Rica
- Al Otro Lado del Espejo - La Radio del Buceo y el Mar, Spanish Radio program -El Hormiguero, Radio U,
- Surfing Republica TV, Costa Rica
- Animal Lovers Radio, Mexico
- Prensa nacional, Mexico Playa del Carmen.
- Planetario SAYAB, Mexico.
- The Book "Call of the Blue" a high-quality, large format photographic book with an accompanying narrative by marine biologist Tom Hooper.
- A Break For Makos- by Steve De Neef film, presented at CITES 2019 for the lobby for the inclusion of Mako Sharks in Ap.II in 2019 where Nakawe did the research and Regina Domingo our founder worked as a fixer.
- The Blue Quest documentary- a journey to highlight solutions for marine conservation and the people behind them
- Pilgrim “Fin” Film - Eli Rooth
- Mission Blue - Kip Evans Baja Documentary
One of our biggest dreams is to create A DOCUMENTARY FILM: a worldwide investigative journey to rescue our oceans from corruption in the fishing industry. This is our chance to actually make a difference in our world’s future.
For the last seven years Regi Domingo, founder at Nakawe Project, alongside team members and volunteers, has travelled the world to film a documentary originally entitled "Game Over Fishing". Together, they interviewed, filmed, researched and visited different locations around the globe to expose the massive issue of overfishing from a fresh, honest perspective. This story questions everything: from national government actions to the international institutions that are entrusted with monitoring the state of the oceans and marine protected areas. The film will reveal significant issues within both the fishing industry and its governance that have not been presented to the public before.
Due to this year’s global pandemic and other events out of our control, the production of the film is currently on hold. Our commitment to this project is still very important and we are currently looking to build a new team to help us complete this project.
We would like to thank supporters who have contributed to this project. The Nakawe Project team will provide additional updates as soon as possible.
Call for footage
Help us expand our global research and create awareness around the world!
Shark meat is sold in supermarkets under false names. This means that you, the consumer, aren’t able to make informed decisions about what you’re buying. Even big corporations like Walmart mislabel their products.
The next time you are at your local supermarket, please stop by the seafood section. If they are selling shark or stingray meat from a threatened species or meat that is not labeled with the species name, take a video (30-45 seconds and horizontal) and send it to us at email@example.com with subject “Shark Meat”. Make sure to include location and store name! Also, please mention in the video where you are and what you see. And remember, it may be labeled with other names :
- Cazón salado
- Rock salmon
- Pescado blanco
- Pan de cazón
- Cape steak
- Hues Moki
... all of these are names under which endangered species of sharks can be sold. Any video received will greatly contribute to our investigation.
Sign the petition
Ask corporations to stop selling threatened species and label shark meat, sign the petition here!
Donate to Nakawe
Even if the crowdfunding has ended, you can still get involved by donating to Nakawe Project. Any amount is a great help for the project! We use PayPal as a payment gateway, in order to make everything safe and reliable.
Browse our shop
We are pleased to announce the launch of our official Nakawe shop !
Visit the Nakawe shop here. 100% of your purchase will support the Nakawe Project campaigns
Wall of supporters
Nakawe for Youth
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children” - Native American Proverb
When it comes to conservation, education is the key to sharing and making sure there is a continued effort for all future generations to come. Promoting respect and harmony with nature in order to achieve a just balance among economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations is fundamental.
As such, fostering a positive influence on the next generation of humans is critical to the long-term success of our mission. Through educational workshops and other fun initiatives tailored to children, Nakawe Project provides informative and inspiring content with a view to promote the importance of learning to respect and preserve nature and its wildlife.
Colour for Conservation
Get kids to learn about some of our most beloved marine species from Baja California through art! Add colour to our unique collection of marine animal designs and get your kids inspired by the beauty of Nature.
We are offering two booklets for FREE, though small donations to support our conservation initiatives are greatly appreciated.
Download our booklets and bring animals to life with colours.
Now you can join us on conservation expeditions!
Nakawe Experiences is committed to preserving nature, wildlife, and humans
- Striped marlin expeditions in Mexico’s Baja California peninsula
- COMING SOON: Grey Whales Expedition - Close and Personal
- COMING SOON: Mobula Clouds Expedition
- COMING SOON: The Humpback Whales Highway Expedition
- COMING SOON: Makos and Blues Expedition
Closing the loop
Unsustainable fishing practices over the past several decades have driven many species to the edge of extinction.
These necklaces are handcrafted by park ranger Moises Gomez from Cocos Island, Costa Rica. They feature a circular fishing hook on a black rope with a stainless steel clasp and have come to symbolize our documentary as we fight to close the loop on unsustainable fishing practises. We hope these necklaces will help to start small conversations that will swell into large discussions about the value of our oceans and the urgency of change.
Our Closed-Hook ambassadors
Closed Hook ambassadors are stewards of the ocean. They are conservationists, scientists, and filmmakers who have spent their lives carrying out acts that that aim to accomplish and promote exactly what the closed hook represents; the value of our oceans and our need to protect the creatures within them. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our Closed Hook ambassadors for their tireless efforts. We still have a chance to save the oceans because of people like them.
Sylvia A. Earle is explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society, founder of the Sylvia Earle Alliance/Mission Blue, founder of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research Inc., chair of the advisory council for the Harte Research Institute, and former chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). She has authored more than 200 publications and led more than 100 expeditions with over 7,000 hours underwater.
Internationally awarded marine and wildlife photographer & explorer; leader of National Geographic expedition teams which have included Dr. Eugenie Clark, Dr. Sylvia Earle, and Buzz Aldrin; co-producer of tv documentaries with Stan Waterman. Amos specializes in Big Animals photography in the wild producing images & stories for magazines, TV, Hollywood. Leading expeditions from the North Pole to Antarctica, Amos believes that through observation and interaction people will both understand and learn to respect our fragile environment and protect the most imposing inhabitants in our universe.
Ella has a deep love for the ocean, and all the marine life in it. She is fiercely passionate about protecting what she loves, and actively speaks out against single use plastics, marine pollution and the need for better protection for sharks. Ella's goal is to educate as many people as she can about the vital role of sharks, and what the destruction of their populations means for the entire ecosystem and life on land. She understands that the time is now to inspire people to care, love and respect nature, so that our future generations are able to see the beauty of the ocean and all it's wonderful life.
He is one of the young men living in the community that is helping to ensure proper enforcement within the Cabo Pulmo National Park. He is a divemaster at the Cabo Pulmo Divers shop and is one of the young activists working tirelessly to protect Cabo Pulmo. With his family and friends David is trying to preserve the marine life and show the rest of the world that marine reserves can be a good model for sustainable coastal development
Cinematographer Nat Geo WILD's wildlife photographer. Brazilian born, adventure-addicted, and a passion for all things wild, Filipe jumped into uncertainty by solo-trekking the entire Appalachian Trail in 2012 after graduating from the University of Florida. Since then, he’s become an Emmy wining Photographer, Director of Photography and Producer in NYC. Most recently Filipe was nominated for 19 NY EMMYs and won a contract with NatGeo WILD that sent him to Africa for 4 months.
Peter Hughes is a diving pioneer — and has been for several decades. And he has literally done it all! From owning a resort to an equipment company to a fleet of liveaboards, his passion for the underwater world has never waivered. And he does whatever he can to ensure that world is protected for generations to come.
JP Geoffroy is an avid conservationist with a deep desire to help the planet. Growing up near the Galapagos, JP fell in love with the ocean and all of Earth’s animals. His dedication to conservation has played a key role in the creation of this film. His passions have taken him into the world of Subaquatic Rescue Diving with the Chilean Firefighters, a Dive Instructor, a Media and Campaign Leader for Sea Shepard Conservation Society, a deck hand and a Computer Engineer. Currently, he serves as an ambassador and Vice President for Nakawe Project’s Mexico Division, and an Ambassador for OCEAN REEF INC, and DEEPBLU.
Erick Ross Salazar
Dr. Erick Ross Salazar marine biologist, science Manager at Fundación MarViva, diver and some of the most passionate conservationists in Costa Rica.
Nicolas Neidhardt is a French & German composer and producer based in Los Angeles, CA. He is known for his work for feature films, TV, commercials and video games. He is also known for his work as a songwriter and record producer. And the composer of the film “Hooked”.
Captain Chris Wade is a Marine Explorer, Shark Expert, and Ocean Advocate, captain at Research Vessel Sea Watch.
Erick Higuera is a Mexican multi-awarded underwater filmmaker, photographer, marine biologist and conservationist.
Octavio Valdés is a shark Ambassador, freelance shark-feeder and a PADI Scuba Dive Instructor.
Mexican freediving national champion in all the disciplines in the pool and in depth. He was given the books of Jacques Cousteau by his father as a child and his fascination with the underwater world continues to this day. He is a hydrobiologist and started out his diving life in scuba. However, when he discovered freediving 13 years ago he instantly realised his mission in life. He starts each day thinking of new projects to help grow the sport and the community that he loves.
Dr. Aburto is a professional photographer associate with the International League of Conservation Photographers, a Kathryn Fuller Fellow and a National Geographic Explorer. His research and photographs on marine reserves, commercially exploited marine species and fisheries, have been part of several international conservation projects and contests.
Alonso I. Rodriguez de la Parra
Co-founder of @MaresdeMéxico and musician. Working on changing the world through the entretainment industry.
“We must play a different game to have a new outcome”
Valentina Kochian is a marine biology student that became one of the youngest freediving instructors in the world, crating her school Freefall Academy in Mexico. She believes changes start from within, so she wants to separate the dualism between science and society to have conscious and well informed citizens that take care and action to protect the Oceans and coexist peacefully with all living creatures.
Jim Abernethy is an award-winning author, photographer, cinematographer and conservationist who pioneered shark encounters without a cage. Abernethy hosts cage-free dive expeditions (day/night) with tiger, great hammerheads, oceanic white tips, bull, and lemon sharks – he is best known as an extremely passionate crusader for their protection and has received numerous awards for his lifelong dedication as a marine life conservationist.
Marine Biologist Jeremiah Sullivan developed a flexible suit of armor for divers to wear while working around sharks. Founder of Neptunic and SharkArmor Tech Often referred to as: Metal Mesh Shark Suit, Chain Mail Anti-Shark Suit, neptunic sharksuit (His former company name), Steel Mesh Shark Suit, etc. Jeremiah specializes in human shark interactions and manufactures advanced protective gear for professional, commercial, military and qualified sport divers who must work or dive in hazardous conditions
Queeny - model - always had a deep passion and love for the oceans and all animals. At first she was quite fearful of the ocean but now she has conquered many fears of the ocean by diving. Now she is a rescue diver, freediver and underwater photographer. She is an advocate for the ocean and all beings within.
Protect mako sharks!
SEPTEMBER 21st, 2019
During CITES CoP18, we received the great news that Mako Sharks are being listed on Appendix II, which means they will have guidelines that will track and limit trade of Mako Shark products internationally.
REMEMBER: CITES regulates ONLY INTERNATIONAL TRADE in specimens of species of wild fauna and flora listed in its Appendices on the basis of a system of permits and certificates which are issued only when certain conditions are met, and which must be presented when leaving and entering a country
For Appendix-II and –III listed species, international trade is permitted but regulated.
However, implementation of these regulations usually take twelve to eighteen months to take effect. BUT, we have confirmation that Mako Shark new international trade regulations will be implemented in THREE MONTHS!! This is a huge, huge win for makos - because they will be afforded protections much sooner than we had anticipated!
It is important to remember, however, that the fight is absolutely NOT over. Makos still need more protections and we need to make sure that people stop consuming mako shark meat and stop collecting them as souvenirs. Our work will continue, especially to bring down mako (and all) shark meat consumption!
AUGUST 15th, 2019
In ten days, the country representatives from around the world will be voting at CITES CoP18 in Geneva on whether to include Mako sharks into CITES Appendix II. If the proposal goes through, Mako sharks will be subject to stricter trade regulations globally, a step further in the right direction for a highly vulnerable species. Whilst a large number of countries are supporting the proposal, 11 Asian countries (Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia, Lao, Indonesia, Cambodia and Brunei), as well as the US and Canada, are planning to vote “NO” to giving Makos the protection they desperately need.
Write to your country representatives today and urge them to vote “YES” on August 25th!
Download the sample email here
Meet the team
Regina Domingo - Campaign Leader
Founder and Executive Director of Nakawe Project, a non-profit organization that focuses on the protection of marine life. Growing up by the Mediterranean sea close to Barcelona, Regi has lived in and around the ocean all her life. It is her unconditional love for marine life, combined with an awareness of the imminent environmental threats that led Regi to move to Costa Rica in 2012 to volunteer with the park rangers of Cocos Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in order to preserve the marine park and its unique wildlife from illegal fishing.
Since then, Regi has been involved in a number of different conservation projects across Central America and the South Pacific. Notably, Regi was a key team member of Rob Stewart's last project Sharkwater Extinction, and later worked with Sylvia Earle's Mission Blue organization..
Currently, Regi lives in Baja California Sur, Mexico where she runs Nakawe Project, focusing on developing both conservation and ecotourism projects that supports local communities by providing a more sustainable alternative to fishing activities..
With massive persistence and courage she manages to gain access to places no one else has, rendering her an unmatched researcher whilst filming the documentary “Hooked”. Working with government authorities, marine organizations and different creative teams, she is also a key producer on the film, always obtaining the information and footage necessary to make the film significant.
Romain Simon - Marketing Communications
Romain is a marketing and communication professional living in London, UK. Born and raised in the south of France, his upbringing on the shores of the Mediterranean sea has forged a deep relationship to the Ocean and ignited a drive to engage with environmental issues affecting marine life. Romain joined Nakawe Project in 2018 and has since been contributing his marketing communications expertise, supporting several high-impact campaigns aimed at increasing global awareness on sustainability and mobilising public support for conservation initiatives.
Kerri Lynn Ackerly - Communications
Kerri Lynn is a fish biologist and scientific communicator. Growing up in New York, Kerri Lynn fell in love with the ocean from an early age - and followed that love into a career studying how the environment impacts fishes. She earned her PhD in biology from McGill University in 2017, and now studies fishes in Texas. In addition to her work in fish biology, Kerri Lynn is also passionate about making science accessible to everyone and understandable for all humans. She believes scientific education is the root of the future of ecological conservation - and wants to help humans feel their connection with nature and help them develop a deep love for the world around them.