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 team consist out of marine biologists, dive instructors, scholarship candidates, ocean lovers and shark warriors from all different ages and backgrounds. You will be a critical member of the team and will assist with research dives in the mornings and inputting and analyzing the data in the afternoons.

Your first 2 weeks are dedicated to diver and scientific methodology training. First you must be a good diver before you can become a good research diver. Included in your program is your PADI Scientific Diver Course (this course is developed by Gili Shark Conservation and they are the only ones in the world that are allowed to teach this cool course) and PADI Aware Shark Specialty Course. If you stay 3 weeks or longer you also receive your next level of diving certification.

The accommodation and Shark Headquarters is located in a beautiful boutique hotel called Villa Nangka, complete with kitchen, hot water showers, and a 11-meter pool!  This is where the research team comes together every morning to enjoy a delicious breakfast while listening to the dive briefing of their first research dive of the day. After breakfast we head to the dive center to set up our equipment and load it onto the Gili Shark Conservation boat.

The Shark Warriors of Gili Shark Conservation call the ocean their office for a reason; they spend on average 8 hours per week underwater and always say: “The best way to start the day is with two dives!”. By helping them to collect data on their research dives, you support their mission to help 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 attend community beach clean ups and underwater clean ups.

The evenings and weekends are spent together trying out different restaurants on the island, doing 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!