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Misión Tiburón

The hammerhead shark, Sphyrna lewini, is a migratory species threatened by human activities, including illegal fishing. In 2008, the International Union for Conservation of Nature classified Sphyrna lewini as endangered

Misión Tiburón is an organization dedicated to the conservation of marine life, mainly sharks and manta rays, through research, education and political action. Founded by Italian marine biologist Ilena Zanella and biologist Andres Lopez (also her husband), the organization focuses on marine research of sharks, sea turtles, rays, bull sharks, hammerheads and manta rays, and also on educational programs aimed at coastal communities. locals.

Sharks reproduce in the Coco Island Park and in Golfo Dulce, Puntarenas. At this time, efforts are mainly focused on Costa Rica’s Pacific waters.

Since 2010, Misión Tiburón has been working in Golfo Dulce, a tropical fjord surrounded by mangroves and river mouths in Costa Rica’s South Pacific. Here, biologists place tags on sharks to monitor their movements and gather information regarding local fisheries.

In May 2018, the government declared the wetlands of the Golfo Dulce as «Golfo Dulce: Hammerhead Shark Sanctuary,» the country’s first shark sanctuary protecting 10,000 acres of critical nursery habitat for the endangered scalloped hammerhead shark. .

Misión Tiburón is an organization founded by the Italian marine biologist Ilena Zanella and the biologist Andres Lopez
Misión Tiburón is an organization founded by the Italian marine biologist Ilena Zanella and the biologist Andres Lopez

The sanctuary includes several wetlands, for example, mangrove ecosystems located at the mouth of the Coto River and the Esquinas River, the main rivers of the Golfo Dulce in Costa Rica. Andrés Lopez says that “The Sanctuary has promoted not only the protection of the hammerhead shark , but also socio-economic activities that foster a blue economy, through the involvement of local communities, the tourism sector and the private sector, «said Lopez,» Diving tourism related to Hammerhead sharks generate important economic resources based on a ‘blue economy “.

Ilena and Andrés have worked over the past decade to create a sanctuary for sharks, manta rays and turtles along the coast. Zanella was one of the scientists who in London received the prestigious Whitley Prize for Conservation, awarded every year by the foundation of the same name, his words «It is necessary to create more marine protected areas, especially in coastal areas, which allow the regeneration of life aquatic, which in the long run would bring enormous benefits to coastal communities “.

Social Impact

Marine education

Misión Tiburón recognizes that conservation implies education, their motto is «knowing to protect»; as part of their work to conserve the scalloped hammerhead shark, they conduct educational activities in local coastal communities and participatory workshops with local fishermen operating in the region.

Save the hammerhead shark

Another program that focuses on the education of elementary-age students on marine resources and the importance of the role of sharks in aquatic ecosystems, as well as their vulnerability to human activities. Misión Tiburón aims to help educate over 3,000 public school students with this beautiful message, with the intention of building a learning station in the port city of Golfito, located in the Golfo Dulce region

Mujeres Martillo

Another important project is «Mujeres Martillo» an initiative that seeks to train, empower and accompany the women of the coastal communities of Golfo Dulce, in new forms of sustainable economy.

The «Hammerhead» bracelets are the first creation of a limited edition of 250 bracelets inspired by the iconic hammerhead shark. Each bracelet is made with a handmade piece of 925 silver joined by macramé fabric in warm colors and an adjustable closure.

Our Contribution

Making people passionate about protecting hammerhead sharks is our main weapon against illegal fishing activities. We believe there is real hope for the hammerhead shark and we would like to share this amazing experience with you. Whenever a visitor books our «Hammerhead Shark Sanctuary» tour we donate $ 50.00 to the Organization, our customers can adopt a shark and receive donation certification, visit the organization and even be part of their expedition for the search for these wonderful animals.

MT has involved volunteers in research and educational projects in the South (Golfo Dulce) and North (Papagayo) Pacific of Costa Rica. Together with MT we offer you two unique experiences to give you the opportunity to be part of these extraordinary projects.