#SaveOurOceans - Shark Conservation

My name is Carmela Gonzales and I'll be a MSc Marine Systems & Policies Candidate at the University of Edinburgh come September 2017.

I love our oceans, and I want to see them survive well past 30 years from now, but at the rate that they are degrading at this very moment, that hope is impossible.

-- We can change that.

Through empirical research, I want to evaluate the efficacy of current policy tools and technologies (like Marine Protected Areas/MPAs) to identify what works, and what needs to be improved to ensure legitimate protection and restoration of our oceanic resources.

I'm not an idealist -- I am fully aware that we will forever continue to exploit our oceans for food, oil, tourism... my goal is NOT to stop this. My goal is to find a way to do this sustainably so our oceans can have the chance to catch up, and return to normal, sustainable levels.

Do you believe in this cause?

I am fully confident that we can make a change, and I am dedicating my life to finding and implementing a way to do so. And I will.

Join me in this project by funding my work. My first step: empirical field research in the Marine Protected Area, Gili Matra Marine Park, Gili Islands, Indonesia.

In order for me to understand our place in this problem, I must join it and see it for myself.

Help me fulfill this dream.

Help me begin this project.

* * * * *


Sharks are the top apex predators of our oceans, which means they are vital to the health of our marine ecosystems. Without sharks, lower food chain species overpopulate and destroy marine ecosystems (this includes coral reef). For a cute demonstration, please see Lily William’s graphic below.

For accessibility purposes: when sharks disappear, stingrays overpopulate which decimates shellfish populations that regulate an ecosystem’s nutrient balance; seals overpopulate which destroys fish populations that regulate small organism levels; lastly, sharks regulate fish populations and ensure that the ocean is kept healthy by removing sick or weak fish. 

In conclusion, a healthy ocean is one with sharks in it. Without sharks, the oceans will die

Unfortunately, over 50% of shark species are already endangered. Some species, such as the reef shark (which we will be recording and analyzing data on), have decreased by over 90%. I want to protect these animals, and this is why I need your help:


Indonesia is one of the world’s largest shark traders contributing to over 16% of global shark trade.

For this reason, I am moving there in August to join the Gili Shark Conservation Research Team to gather data on apex predator populations and evaluate the efficacy of the Marine Protected Area, Gili Matra Marine Park.

This will be volunteer work, and the Indonesian government will review this data in 2019. 

The funds that I gather here will be used towards diving equipment rentals, fuel, electricity/accommodation and the tools that we will be using during our survey dives. This does not include my dive computer, mask/fins, flight or personal expenses.

I am doing this because I want to contribute to the protection and conservation of marine animals like sharks, and through this experience, I will gain practical understanding of current marine policy, which I hope to influence in the near future.

It is my goal to one day work for the UN crafting international laws for the protection and sustainable use of our oceans.

With your help, I can kickstart this transition in my career and cultivate my passion for marine policy, conservation and collective action.

If you have anything to spare, any and all contributions are greatly appreciated! If you have questions, please feel free to contact me as I am more than happy to discuss!

Thank you for giving me your time so far.

Let’s do what we can to #SaveOurOceans. Let’s keep our oceans (and sharks!) alive. 

PLEASE NOTE: you will only be charged what you choose to donate. GoFundMe will not charge you for your donations. Thank you!!!
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Carmela Gonzales 
Mississauga, ON