Gili Shark Conservation Project: Marine Research Assistant, Indonesia

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The Gili Shark Conservation Project is a small conservation and data collection program. It is the first of its kind in the Gili Islands, and takes an active role in conservation issues in Indonesia’s three Gili Islands; Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air.

We are always looking for enthusiastic people who want to live in paradise and make a difference during their holiday. Help the sharks and the community of Gili Air by giving your time and love. You don’t need to be a shark expert or a diver to join our project, however a passion and commitment to shark conservation is important. We appreciate all the unique skills that you can bring to our project and welcome people of every corner of the globe.

During your stay with the Gili Shark Conservation Project you will learn how to dive/improve your dive skills, become a scientific diver and a shark conservation diver. We teach you how to conduct survey dives and how to drop a BRUV (Baited Remote Underwater Video).

  • Live on a beautiful island
  • Increase your diving & conservation skills and knowledge
  • Work together with a small wonderful dedicated team
  • Make friends for life

Questions & Answers


based on 9 reviews
  • Impact 9
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 9.3
  • Value 8.8
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 9 of 9

Gili shark conservation

I had a really great time with the shark conservation team here on gili air, normally i was supposed to stay here for 6 weeks but i extended it to 8 weeks. This was because here i was learning so much about the marine environment and ofcourse about sharks. You also get to meet so much interesting people.

I would recommend this program to everyone that is interested in sharks and the marine environment.

Yes, I recommend
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Good Times on Gili Air

I had a great time with the shark team on Gili Air. They made my stay comfortable, fun, and exciting. I loved being able to dive and collect useful data with each team member and hang out with the locals in the evening. Gili Air is a beautiful island that I definitely want to visit again. It's a shame that more isn't being done to protect the surrounding waters of the islands; human impacts can clearly be seen and thus reinforce the urgency needed to get these sharks the protection that they need.
My time on Gili Air was well spent and I will sorely miss all the amazing people that I met.

How can this program be improved?
It is an expensive program. I feel like the cost would be more acceptable if we were diving twice everyday or if fun dives were provided at no extra charge.
Yes, I recommend

Gili Shark Conservation

I wasn’t sure what to expect coming into this program, as it was my first volunteering experience abroad. But I’m glad I applied got to spend two weeks on the beautiful island of Gili Air. The Gili Shark Conversation team is fun, helpful and dedicated. This program helped me gain valuable field based experience in the sphere of marine conservation, and inspired me to spread awareness about the dramatic decline in shark populations worldwide. I also got my Rescue Diver certification which helped me improve my diving skills and made me a more confident diver.
Gili Air is a very safe island with good food and amazing diving( lots of turtles, sharks and rays). Villa Nangka is a great place to stay and the staff is very hospitable. I made some great friends and wish I could stay here longer :)

Yes, I recommend

Best Experience of my Life

Before I arrived at the program I did not know what to expect, but being greeted so kindly and happily was a welcomed surprise. The staff both at Villa Nangka and at the program were very helpful, friendly, and overall great people. The program is great and will give any person with an interest in marine biology the tools to succeed in the field and a great experience for future work. This was one of the best experiences of my life, the people were great, the diving was awesome, and the memories unforgettable. If you want to learn more about marine and shark conservation or want to help create an impact in the community, this is the program for you.

How can this program be improved?
Having one bathroom for so many people can sometimes be difficult.
Yes, I recommend
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Cannot recommend enough!

During my two week stay on this programme I fell in love with the Gili's, diving, and slightly to my surprise; sharks! I learnt so much about these majestic creatures that my previous neither loving nor hating attitude towards sharks turned into; why aren't we doing more to conserve them?

The staff were full of knowledge, always available to answer questions and up for a laugh and some fun. The dive school was very professional with some great dive masters available for your courses. Accommodation was comfy, clean and beautiful and the food on the island can't be beaten!

Yes, I recommend
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It has been the best experience ever! As a marine life lover and specially with sharks... this project let me got more involved in conservation and be able to help this magestic creatures. I've learned a lot and got my Open Water and Advanced OW Certificarions.
The place is wonderful! Full of peace, happy people and nice vibes.

It has been great being part of this amazing project, they have a great team and thanks to their great job they make this happen.

Yes, I recommend

Everlasting memories

My time with Gili Shark Conservation was a very positive experience. My peers, advisors, and mentors were always very supportive and knowledgable, and I always felt like everyone was very approachable. The staff at Villa Nangka were very welcoming which created a comfortable home environment and a sense of family. The dive instructors from Oceans5 were all very funny, down to earth people that made difficult courses enjoyable and less intimidating. Our daily survey dives were always a new and fun adventure that taught me useful skills and helped me become a better diver. While working side by side with the other shark volunteers everyday, I built special bonds with each and every one of them that I will cherish for the rest of my life. GSC also helps the volunteers be active within the community through weekly beach clean-ups and uniting the community to learn about and support shark conservation. Having the opportunity to work with others that have the same goals about shark conservation has been one of the most rewarding experiences I've had, and I would definitely do this again.

How can this program be improved?
Splitting a toilet between eight different volunteers was difficult in the morning. But I would love to see other learning aids implemented into the program, as well as more shark related activities.
I believe that outreach events to the community and partnering with other organizations/universities would be the biggest opportunity. There are many opportunities/possibilities for this program, I can't wait to see the growth in the upcoming years!
Yes, I recommend
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Peace, love, and sharks

When I arrived at Villa Nangka, I had to remind myself I wasn't dreaming and all of it was real. It has such a tranquil feel and it's so beautiful with plants and flowers everywhere. The staff immediately made me feel welcomed and part of the family at Villa Nangka. Meeting the instructors at Oceans 5 Dive was a similar experience as well. They are all very friendly and helpful. Getting any kind of certificate with any of the instructors there will definitely be a fun experience. Going on fish survey dives with the Gili Shark Team was also so much fun and a learning experience every time. This project will teach you how to identify several species of fish pretty quickly and how to be an environmentally conscious diver. I also enjoyed the weekly beach clean ups and uniting the community to support shark conservation. I am beyond happy I had this opportunity and now I am even more passionate about marine life and I'm sure everyone who volunteered feels the same. It was an amazing feeling finally being around people who are devoted to marine conservation.

How can this program be improved?
I was a volunteer for four weeks and I can't say there are any areas in need of improvement besides having one more bathroom for the volunteers to share would be nice since there is only one bathroom for 8 people.
Yes, I recommend
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I don't have a lot of experience with other projects but I spent 7 weeks with the Gili Shark Conservation and I wouldn't want to spend my summer any other way. Everyone in the project is extremely passionate and make you feel like family as soon as you come in. The island offers good food, good diving, nice beaches, and lovely people whether they're locals, travelers, or expats. Volunteering anywhere will always be what you make of it but this is what I believe made the project special for me:
1: The project gave me lots of freedom. There is enough structure in the program to always be busy but the project doesn't require you to eat at a cafeteria everyday. In fact you can choose what to eat pretty much every meal. Also what you do on your weekends is completely up to you. I felt like this aspect makes every volunteer's experience unique and really allows you to be yourself. For example, one weekend I spent doing a freediving course, and another weekend I took a day off and went to Bali to explore and dive with manta rays!
2: Genuine people. Everyone on the island lives there for a reason. There are many expats who fell is love with the island and they make it very contagious. I'm not sure if I met anyone that could be considered "normal" here but that's what made it awesome.
3: Lots of diving. 8 dives a week was the schedule I was on. I'm not sure how many other programs offer but you definitely get your fair share of dives here. Yeah there's data input and other on-land activities but I came to dive and I most definitely got to do so.

All in all this project may not be the most high end and/or structured as some other programs but the work is fun and fulfilling. When I volunteered the project was relatively new and I'm sure it's only getting better! 10/10 would recommend to anyone looking to do dive related volunteer work.

Yes, I recommend


Meet the Staff

About Gili Shark Conservation Project | Gili Air, Indonesia

For decades, Indonesia has been ranked as the number one shark fishing nation in the world. Make a real difference in conservation through research and join our research team in Gili Air.

The Gili Shark Conservation Project is a small conservation...