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Adalberto García Domínguez, heading out for a day’s work: fishing and research on marine turtles and fauna. Foto: Alan Zavala Norzagaray.

Date: 15 June 2023
Author: Dr. Alan Zavala Norzagaray. 
Nomination made by: Instituto Politécnico Nacional, IPN-CIIDIR UNIDAD SINALOA


Originally from the community of Puerto La Reforma, Angostura, Sinaloa en México, Mr. Adalberto García Domínguez has spent his life as an artisanal fisherman, including the shrimp, finfish, blue crab, shark fisheries as well as sport fishing. Without a doubt, fishing is an economic pillar of his and his family’s life. 

For the past 15 years, Adalberto has collaborated with conservation efforts, including research projects, monitoring, and environmental education. He also participated in an important initiative to advise conservation strategies, “Expert advice for the Islands of the Gulf of California with CONANP (the Mexican National Commission on Natural Protected Areas).

Being active and involved in marine conservation, Adalberto also participates in the collaborative network for sea turtle conservation Grupo Tortuguero de las Californias and the Marine Turtle Network of Sinaloa. His fishing experience has allowed him to collaborate on several research projects, including “Assessment of sea turtle bycatch in the shark fishery in Sinaloa” through the MarEs Comunidad project. These efforts have allowed him to report sightings and bycatch events of leatherbacks and other sea turtle species.

Adalberto García Domínguez collaborating with researchers and sharing his experience as a fisherman. Foto: Alan Zavala Norzagaray.

In of his most extraordinary efforts, Adalberto helped to rescue a leatherback turtle given the name “Ximena-Alexandra,” in honor of his two granddaughters, in an event that exemplified the value and importance of collaborations between fishermen, researchers, and the public.

Adalberto and his crew delivering the leatherback turtle “Ximena-Alexandra” to be rehabilitated by the team at IPN-CIIDIR UNIDAD SINALOA. Foto: Alan Zavala Norzagaray
Foto: Alan Zavala Norzagaray.


Ximena-Alexandra is released and headed back to sea. Foto: Alan Zavala Norzagaray.

Once she was healthy, morphometric data were collected on the leatherback “Ximena-Alexandra”, who was determined to be a juvenile because it was not possible to distinguish yet whether the turtle is male or female. It was measured 108 cm long over the carapace, and a healthy individual that was equipped with a satellite tracking device using an established protocol. 

The satellite tracker allowed researchers to follow Ximena-Alexandra’s migration route, and providing information about its marine habitat use. 

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The Eastern Pacific Leatherback Turtle Conservation Network started in 2012 when over thirty researchers, NGOs, and regional experts came together to develop an action plan to stabilize and restore the leatherback turtle population in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.