Andres Lopez

Andrés López

Co-Founder, Misión Tiburón
Costa Rica

2017 MCAF Fellow



Andrés López, a marine biologist with a master’s in management resources degree from Costa Rica and is Co-Founder and Director of Misión Tiburón, a nonprofit organization aiming to promote the conservation of sharks and marine life. Since 2010, Misión Tiburón started different projects with sharks and rays with the support of coastal stakeholders, like fisherman, divers, rangers, in others.

Through their years of research and tagging studies, López and Zanella have also engaged fishermen, communities, government officials, and schoolchildren in their conservation efforts, growing a vital and broad base of support for the sharks. Since 2010, Mision Tiburon has involved more than 5000 students in educational activities, has trained in shark biology and identification more than 200 governmental personnel from Ministry of Environment, Coastguards and National Fishing Institute.

Mision Tiburon studies had identified sharks’ critical habitats and promoted national and international conservation measures, such as CITES and IUCN inclusions. Their work has been supported by different partners, for example New England Aquarium’s Marine Conservation Action Fund (MCAF), Conservation International, Rain Forest Trust, among others.

In Costa Rica, thanks to the government support and the involvement of the communities, they acted to improve the management of this critical endangered species. In May 2018, the Costa Rican government declared the Wetlands of Golfo Dulce as the Scalloped Hammerhead Shark Sanctuary, the first shark sanctuary of Costa Rica. At the beginning of the 2019 year, Golfo Dulce was declared Hope Spot by the international organization Mission Blue, in support of nursery for endangered scalloped hammerhead shark. Andres is the Hope Spot Champion for this nomination.

2017 MCAF Fellow, Andres Lopez


Sharks, Mobulids, Conservation Leadership, Social Media, Public Speaking, Conservation in Developing Countries, Advocacy, Education

Andres Lopez with a shark in boat.
  1. Select Publications

    López-Garro, A., Zanella, I., Golfín-Duarte, G., & Pérez-Montero, M. (2020). Residencia del tiburón punta blanca de arrecife, Triaenodon obesus (Carcharhiniformes: Carcharhinidae) en las bahías Chatham y Wafer del Parque Nacional Isla del Coco, Costa Rica. Revista de Biología Tropical, 68(Supl. 1), S330-S339.

    LOPEZ-GARRO, Andrés; ZANELLA, Ilena; GOLFIN-DUARTE, Geiner and PEREZ-MONTERO, Maikel. First record of the blacktip reef shark Carcharhinus melanopterus (Carcharhiniformes: Carcharhinidae) from the Tropical Eastern Pacific. Rev. biol. trop [online]. 2012, vol.60, suppl.3, pp.275-278. ISSN 0034-7744.

    Author: Manon Fourriére, Juan José Alvarado, Jorge Cortés, Marc H. Taylor, Arturo Ayala-Bocos, Juan Carlos Azofeifa-Solano, Randall Arauz, Maike Heidemeyer, Andrés López-Garro, Ilena Zanella, Matthias Wolff, Energy flow structure and role of keystone groups in shallow water environments in Isla del Coco, Costa Rica, Eastern Tropical Pacific. Elsevier, Ecological Modelling 396 (2019) 74–85.

    Swimmer, Yonat & Suter, Jenny & Arauz, Randall & Bigelow, Keith & López, Andres & Zanela, Ilena & Bolaños, Alan & Ballestero, Jorge & Suárez, Raúl & Wang, John & Boggs, Christofer. (2011). Sustainable fishing gear: The case of modified circle hooks in a Costa Rican longline fishery. Marine Biology. 158. 757-767. 10.1007/s00227-010-1604-4.

    Swimmer, Yonat & Arauz, Randall & Wang, John & Suter, Jenny & Musyl, Michael & Bolaños, Allan & López, Andres. (2010). Comparing the effects of offset and non‐offset circle hooks on catch rates of fish and sea turtles in a shallow longline fishery. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. 20. 445 – 451. 10.1002/aqc.1108.

    Zanella, I., López-Garro, A. & Cure, K. Golfo Dulce: critical habitat and nursery area for juvenile scalloped hammerhead sharks Sphyrna lewini in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape. Environ Biol Fish 102, 1291–1300 (2019).

    Ilena Zanella, Andrés López-Garro, et al. 2016. First record of young-of-the-year Scalloped hammerhead shark, Sphyrna lewini (Carcharhiniformes: Sphyrnidae) from Isla del Coco National Park, Costa Rica. Vol. 64, Supplement 1 (2016): Scientific research at Isla del Coco National Park and adjacent waters, Pacific Costa Rica. DOI: 10.15517/rbt.v64i1.23448

  2. News

  3. Awards

    2017 Rainforest Trust Grant

    2014 Conservation International

    2010 Conservation International

  4. Affiliations