Published: June 21, 2023

Location: Gili Islands, Indonesia


Closing Date: Ongoing

Gili Shark Conservation Project Volunteer

Programme overview

Like most scuba divers, we’re big shark lovers. And living in Indonesia, the center of the Coral Triangle, we should be seeing one of the most diverse collections of sharks found in the world on a daily basis. Yet we don’t.

Indonesia is unfortunately the largest shark fishing nation in the world. The IUCN states that out of the 1000+ assessed species of cartilaginous fish (sharks, rays, skates, chimearas), 30% are threatened with extinction! Sharks are targeted for their fins to be sold a Chinese delicacy, shark fin soup. Rays are also caught on mass in Indonesia for their gill rakers, which the Chinese believe to have magical medicinal powers.




About the organisation

So what are we doing about it? Sitting right off the coast of Lombok are three small idyllic islands known as the Gilis. At Gili Shark Conservation, our main goal is to work with local government and non-government organizations to provide critical data for effective marine management. We hope to make a part of the marine park the first official shark nursery in Indonesia, which would prohibit fisherman from fishing these waters and protect our local reef sharks. To achieve this, we are gathering scientific data to prove that this area is in fact a shark nursery and we hope we can achieve our goal by 2025.

We believe a strong community of different individuals can make a bigger impact on marine protection than a single organization. That’s why we work together with the local government, multiple universities and different NGO’s and companies worldwide. We also created a special scholarship program for Indonesian women to encourage and empower them to have a career in marine conservation.


About the programme

Our research assistant program is open to everyone, from total beginners to experienced dive instructors. We are a proud partner of PADI and Conservation Diver, both offering a full range of training and certifications related to marine research, protection, restoration, and conservation, recognized worldwide. Depending on the package you choose, you will receive one or more of the following courses:

  • PADI Scientific Diver Course
  • Conservation Diver ‘Shark Ecology and Population Studies Course’
  • Conservation Diver ‘Sea Turtle Ecology & Monitoring Course’
  • Conservation Diver ‘Marine Ecology and Monitoring Diver Course’

If you stay 3 weeks or longer, you will also receive your next level of diving certification.

Our research team consists of marine biologists, dive instructors, scholarship candidates, ocean lovers, and shark warriors from different ages and backgrounds. We offer packages from 2 weeks upwards, including 8 dives per week, a minimum of 70 project hours, at least 2 scientific dive courses, a minimum of 2 workshops, accommodation in our HQ with breakfast on project days, in-country transport, and extensive knowledge about shark research and marine life. You will be a critical member of the team, assisting with research dives in the mornings and inputting and analyzing data in the afternoons.

What makes our conservation project truly special is our island family. All our shark warriors live and work together, creating a close-knit and caring atmosphere at our HQ. We are passionate about ensuring everyone who joins our island family feels a genuine sense of belonging and comfort.

We call the ocean our office for a reason; we spend an average of 8 hours per week underwater and always say, “The best way to start the day is with two dives!” By helping us collect data on our research dives, you support our mission to create the first recognized shark nursery ground in Indonesia in the Gili Matra Marine Reserve.

In the afternoons, you will attend workshops on our research methods, conduct data input and analysis, and participate in community beach clean-ups and underwater clean-ups.

Evenings and weekends are spent trying out different restaurants on the island, attending yoga classes, or having a drink with friends around the island. Two things are for sure: you will never be bored, and you will not regret signing up for this fin-tastic adventure!”



The Gili Islands in Indonesia are famous for the amazing underwater world and lots of turtles! Divers from all over the world come to experience the warm and clear idyllic waters as well as the diversity of marine life. Diving Gili Islands offers you more than 25 dive sites in a marine protected area. Indonesia is home of the 20% of the worlds coral reefs and many different underwater creatures.

There is so much out there to discover: small little funky looking creatures like ghost pipefish, mantis shrimp, pygmy seahorse, blue-ringed octopus, frogfish and a wide variety of nudibranches. Some big stuff that will blow your mind diving Gili islands are white and black tip sharks, blue spotted stingrays, schools of bumphead parrotfish and sometimes even manta ray or whale shark pop up to say hello. Not to mention the great number of turtles. Some even call it the turtle capital of the world!



We host participants from around the world for a minimum of 2 weeks. On average people are staying between 2-8 weeks to really get involved and give back to the project. The ages of our participants are anywhere from 18-60! but the average is mid-twenties.


Costs and pre-requisites

You’ll do a lot of diving for the marine and shark research but the good thing is, that no previous experience or qualifications are necessary. We do require that you are reasonably fit to cope with tasks on land in the tropical heat and the lifting of dive tanks.

For up to date prices, please visit the website.


What’s included

For more information on package inclusions.


How to apply

To find out more and apply visit the Gili Shark Conservation website. If you have any questions or if you would like to have more information. Just send an email to We’re always happy to help!