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Octavio Aburto

I engage with decision makers and the mexican society to create legacies of ocean conservation

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This yearning to better understand and share the beauty of the Mexican seas has influenced my whole life.

About the photographer

Electrified by the large school of yellow snappers and schools of groupers, bright corals and mysterious sharks, I experienced an incredible first dive in the Sea of Cortez in 1992. I wanted to show this world to everyone, so I taught myself how to use a Nikonos V camera. This yearning to better understand and share the beauty of the Mexican seas has influenced my whole life. Today I am an Associate Professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and a professional photographer collaborating with National Geographic and the International League of Conservation Photographers. I coordinate an international team dedicated to the generation and dissemination of science that can result in a direct and positive impact on the conservation of Mexico’s marine ecosystems. I am a storyteller within an academic institution and I focus on the evaluation, implementation and communication of marine reserves. My photograph »David and Goliath« taken in 2012 at Cabo Pulmo exemplifies the importance of marine reserves and their benefits for local communities. In addition to being leveraged by government agencies and nongovernmental organizations promoting ocean conservation, my photo received millions of views on the Internet, so I decided to capitalize on this attention. In 2016, I started inspiring the Mexican people to establish the largest marine reserve in North America. In collaboration with National Geographic Pristine Seas and the Blancpain Ocean Commitment, I worked closely with Mexican policy makers to support the designation of Revillagigedo Archipelago National Park. After leading several discussions, these efforts resulted in the protection of five percent of Mexico’s three million square kilometers of sea from all extractive activities in November 2017. This legacy will protect many endangered species around the archipelago, a place that also boasts a huge abundance and diversity of sharks.. Protecting Revillagigedo is just the beginning—we must also safeguard society and its relationship with the ocean. Therefore I strive to protect as much as 30 percent of the oceans by the year 2030.

Discover the Gallery

» PEEK-A-BOO « Harbor seal, San Benito Islands, Mexico
» FOREST FLAME « Calico bass in a Kelp forest, San Benito Islands, Mexico
» PURPLE RAIN « Yellowfin surgeonfish and Bigeye travellies, Cabo Pulmo, Mexico
» FIN REFLECTION « Silky sharks, Jardines de la Reina, Jamaica
» DAVID & GOLIATH « Cabo Pulmo, Mexico
» ABOVE EVERYTHING « American crocodile on a water lily, La Encrucijada Chiapas, Mexico/
» COLOR CHART « Pocillopora stony corals with Cortez rainbow wrasses, Cabo Pulmo, Mexico
» FINGER GRIP « American crocodile, Casa cenote Quintana Roo, Mexico
» UNUSUALLY GOOD « Gulf grouper and Greybar grunts, Cabo Pulmo, Mexico
» DEVIL’S NIGHT « Munk’s devil ray, Espiritu Santo, La Paz, Mexico
» A WORLD OF SHARKS « Whitetip reef sharks, Revillagigedo Archipelago, Mexico
» DELICATE PINK « Brittle stars inside a Siliceous sponge, Port Antonio, Jamaica/
This portfolio is featured in Edition Fifty Fathoms 2019.
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