I got to interview Regi Domingo, the Founder of the Nakawe Project, which is doing some great things in Marine Science and Conservation
In my Interview Wednesday episode today, I speak with Reggi Domingo; Founder of The Nakawe Project, also known as the WE Project.
The Nakawe Project is involved in all sorts of Marine Science and Conservation projects in Costa Rica, Central America, and around the world. I first heard of The Nakawe Project when they were involved with the CITES project in getting the Silky and Thresher Sharks protected under the CITES agreement.
The Nakawe Project is probably one of the fastest growing non-profit organizations in the Marine Science and Conservation world; they’ve only been around for 2 years, but they’ve done a huge amount of work pertaining to monitoring shark catch in Costa Rica, and other places around Central America. and the world. They’ve teamed up with tons of organizations and gained a lot of notoriety and publicity. Reggie attended IUCN in September, and has been integral in getting shark conversations going online. An amazing feat in and of itself.
The Nakawe Project is built on very different system than regular non profit organizations. They have team members around the world. Not necessarily full time staff, but, rather people who want to help out in Marine Science and Conservation. So…if you’re reading this and want to help out, and you think you can apply your skills to this organization, whether it be social media, accounting, marketing, science, design work, website design, or any skills you can offer; you can contact The Nakawe Project and let them know you’re a passion player for marine science and conservation and you’re interested in becoming a team member. Members volunteer their time and skills at a schedule that works for according to their own availability. Lots of people contributing at a variety of skillets allows The Nakawe Project to broaden its reach, efforts, and effects even more. To ultimately, become more accomplished. This is a ground-breaking and great model for non-profits because it allows people, otherwise on the outskirts; into the organization.
I am extremely impressed with Reggie, and even more so after our interview. I have been following The Nakawe Project for a while, but especially wanted to have her on the SUFB podcast after seeing pictures from the CITES meeting showing Reggie ecstatic after hearing that her [Silky & Thresher] Shark conservation efforts were voted into effect under Appendix Two in the CITIES agreement. This was an amazing feat, and was enlightening to see not only how passionate Reggie actually is, but also how successful she was at garnering support for these animals, especially throughout Costa Rica. Silky and Thresher Sharks are major shark species fished in Costa Rica. Reggie Dominguez was able to attend the conference due to an organization that sponsored fundraising— selling t-shirts, raised enough money to attend. She had the awesome opportunity network with like minded scientists and conservationists to have the all important conversations about protecting these endangered sharks.
What impact does this have? Well, it has quite a bit of impact. The idea for CITES is to stop the export and import of specific species that are threatened and/or endangered. Silky and Thresher Sharks are both in Costa Rica. CITES, through Appendix Two, stops people from exporting the meat and fins of these sharks legally. This puts a major damper on people trying to make money off of these fisheries, which is huge. Finning, alone, is a massive market for this type of fishing. CITES protects the species from being exported, which then, reduces the catch, because fishers can only get rid of Silky and Threshers so much. Therefore allowing a non-profit organization like The Nakawe Project to really focus on educating Costa Ricans who consume shark meat.
Speaking of which… Reggie and The Nakawe Project are hoping to take on a project where they’re able to tour around schools in Costa Rica to teach children and adults alike about shark species, the impact of shark species, and not eating so much shark meat so the species eventually goes extinct. Reggie has observed personally and through her research on the docks along Costa Rican waters that HammerHead sharks and other shark catches are smaller and shorter; which means they are juveniles, not full grown and mature sharks. Which could mean that the fishers can’t find the adults. Which obviously can and will impact the population, and the future stocks of these species. It also will effect the future of fishing, and these fishers will not have any place to fish.
I can’t say enough that I am very impressed by Reggie and The Nakawe Project. Reggie’s passion and the way that The Nakawe Project has thus far been built through volunteer supporters is nothing short of amazing. I think it can (and should) be a new model for non-profit organizations. There are different ways that people can get involved, whether they are scientists or not. This gets people involved in the Ocean no matter where they are in the world; YOU can still help out and make a difference through The Nakawe Project. There are also different branches of The Nakawe Project; one in Japan, and one in Germany. They all have Social Media Sites which we will link to below. This is truly a unique and inspiring organization that is on track to do tremendous things. I look forward to seeing what they will do in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead. We’ll have Reggie back for sure so that she can keep us updated on The Nagawe Project’s future plans.
For more detailed information on The Nagawe Project and all of their specific, current projects listen to the podcast!
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