MERITO Foundation and Pelagio Kakunja in collaboration to protect Hammerhead sharks of the Southern
On June 2018, MERITO Foundation collaborated with Pelagios Kakunja on their proposal to establish a Marine Protected Area to protect critical habitat of Hammerhead sharks at sea mounts and islands in the Southern Gulf of California. Lozano-Knowlton planned, coordinated and led with Ph. D. James Ketchum the 'Stakeholder Engagement Forum for Protection of Sharks in Southern Gulf of California based on Ecosystem Based Management of June 18 - 22. Over 20 participants from NGOs, Fishermen, Academia and Government officials took part of this forum. Hammerhead sharks among other large pelagic species thrived in the region until early 2000s. The high demand for shark fin soup lured commercial fishing vessels to extract this and other species to overfished levels, as well as lack of income opportunities for artisanal fishermen. The shark fisheries closure in Mexico combined with ecosystem-based management such as what Pelagios Kakunja is proposing are showing signs of recovery. Ocean conservation is an integral part of MERITO Foundation’s mission and expanding reach to other countries is part of our vision.