The reason why we do what we do is because we never ever want to have the following conversation with our children: “We once dived among a school of hundreds of sharks.” They ask us: “That sounds amazing, where can we do that?” And we tell them: “Sorry darlings, unfortunately, you can’t. All the fascinating creatures you see in these photos don’t exist in the sea anymore.”
They turn quiet, look confused and then ask us “Why?” “Greed. Politics. Carelessness. Powerful people didn’t make the right decisions… And then there was laziness, too. Because the rest of them decided not to make decisions.”
You know, instead, we’d like to tell our children about all the great individuals we have met over the years. Those ordinary people who made an extraordinary difference. That their effort was not in vain. That they are the reason we can still enjoy sharks, turtles, whales, corals, and colorful reefs today. You and I decide whether that conversation happens or not. And we decide every single day. Of course, We couldn’t do the work we do every single day without the help of our incredible partners:
Oceans5 Dive Resort
We couldn’t have wished for a better partner than PADI 5 star IDC Dive Resort Oceans 5. No matter what course you would like to do, the instructors of Oceans5 will make sure it will be a fun and unforgettable memory. Together we offer you a full range of PADI dive courses, from your Open Water course to your Divemaster certification.
Oceans5 Dive Resort is a:
- PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Dive Resort (IDC)
- DDI (Disabled Divers International Instructor training Center
- Reef Check facility Center
- Shark Guardian Dive Center.
The head office of the Gili Shark Conservation Project is located on the premises of Villa Nangka. Villa Nangka is a unique boutique hotel located at the heart of Gili Air. As soon as you walk through the gate, you notice the spacious set up (2000m2) and you will feel the tranquility.
Since the owners of Villa Nangka opened the doors of their little paradise they’ve been awarded every year with a ‘Certificate of Excellence’ by Tripadvisor and received the Airbnb ‘Super Host’ badge 20 times in a row! Respect for Mother Earth is at the heart of their core values. They strive for a greener approach and recognize the importance of a sustainable future.
As soon you enter your new home-away-from-home you can see it’s designed with love and eye for detail. It has a lot of traditional elements like the antique tiles from Bali in the bathroom, the grass roof from Lombok, and the handmade wooden decoration. At the same time, it has all the modern elements like air conditioning, a fridge, coffee and tea facilities, fresh hot and cold water, and a safety deposit box to make your stay as comfortable as possible. The villa is exclusively reserved for members of the Research Team.
The owners of Villa Nangka, together with their wonderful staff, will make sure your stay will be a memorable and unforgettable one! Curious what other people say about Villa Nangka? Read the reviews of their regular guests here.
Local & Central Government Indonesia
All of our conservation efforts will not give significant change without having the government involved. Starting from 2018, we are actively communicating our research result and new findings within Gili Matra Marine Recreational Reserve to BKKPN (Balai Kawasan Konservasi Perairan Nasional) Kupang. In addition, we also provide them with suggestions for better marine park management. Gili Shark Conservation Project and BKKPN Kupang are collaborating in:
BKKPN Kupang also supports Gili Shark Conservation in promoting the value of reef sharks to KKP (Kementrian Kelautan Perikanan) to get protection in the future.
Mission Blue Partnership
We are super proud to be one of over two hundred organizations to become partners with Mission Blue. This amazing initiative is led by one of the ocean’s most important ambassadors, Dr. Sylvia Earle. Mission Blue’s vision to achieve 30% ocean protection by 2030 is one that we don’t just support but hope to inspire many others to share too.
Mission Blue has brought together a global network of ocean conservation organizations that are working towards the common goal of restoring our planet’s blue heart.
They have united a multinational alliance to raise awareness, inspire change, and build support for ocean protection, recognizing Hope Spots around the globe.
SharkBase is a Citizen Science project of the Support Our Sharks (SOS) Ocean Conservation Society. It is the mission of SOS to support healthy oceans by promoting better protection for sharks and rays through research, education, and conservation. One of our projects at Gili Shark Conservation is to collect shark sightings from all the dive shops on Gili Air and submit them to Shark Base scientist. We call this the Unite Gili Project, where our dive community comes together to make their dives count. We are proud to say that our Research Team has submitted the most SharkBase sightings in 2017!
Whether you have personally encountered sharks or not, you can contribute to SharkBase. Discover 7 ways that you can help and become a Citizen Shark Scientist today!
Since it was established in 2007, Reef Check Malaysia has become established as a leader in coral reef conservation in Malaysia. Its activities are organized around four core programs:
1. EcoAction: training survey divers and conducting coral reef surveys at over 200 locations around Malaysia to monitor coral reef health.
2. Management: working with stakeholders to improve the management of coral reefs in Malaysia to secure long term conservation goals.
3. Advocacy: raising awareness of the importance of coral reefs and the valuable ecosystem services they provide.
4. Science: conducting studies on reef resilience and rehabilitation to better understand coral reefs and impacts.
Reef Check Malaysia’s efforts now focus on improving the management of marine resources, with an emphasis on involving local stakeholders in management. In 2019 we officially joined the Reef Check Network and together we are monitoring the reefs around the Gili Islands using the Reef Check method.
Did you know that every participant of the Gili Shark Conservation Project receives the Project Aware Shark Conservation Distinctive Specialty Course? A great course that teaches you everything there is to know about sharks and what you can do to protect them.
One of the projects of Project Aware is Adopt A Dive Site. We joined this project in 2017 and adopted one of our favorite dive sites; Meno Slope. Once a week our Research Team does an underwater clean up dive at Meno Slope and collects important information about underwater debris. Together we work towards implementing sustainable solutions to remove plastic from our oceans and prevent it from entering it in the first place.
CoralWatch is a global database designed by The University of Queensland. It allows citizens scientists across the globe to contribute data that will help to increase our understanding of coral reefs and the impact of climate change and bleaching.
Anyone can get involved with this amazing initiative by simply downloaded the CoralWatch application on their smartphone or device.
You do not need to be a coral expert to provide data. In 2002 CoralWatch designed the Coral Health Chart which standardizes color changes in coral providing an easy way for people to compare the color of the coral they see with those on the chart and share their findings via the CoralWatch app.
The International SeaKeepers Society
We are super proud and excited to announce that in mid-2019 we became official partners with the International Seakeepers Society. Seakeepers are an international society of devoted ocean protectors who are dedicated to supporting genuine marine conservation efforts while working locally to educate and inspire change.
They work vigorously to spread a sense of awareness and encourage commitment to protect, conserve, and restore when possible. We had the honor of winning the International SeaKeepers Society Asia Achievement Award 2019; an award that recognizes an organization in Asia that demonstrates a responsibility towards the health of Asia’s marine environment.
We were overwhelmed to have gained such recognition by this amazing organization and even more surprised when Seakeepers offered us a partnership for our coral restoration project. Understanding that coral reefs are under pressure and need our help urgently we are delighted to have gained the support of a new partner in the marine conservation world.
It is our pleasure to take the next steps forward in critical marine research with the International Seakeepers Society by our side.
The University Of Hull
The University of Hull is interested in similar research as we are: such as if fishing is affecting the likelihood of sharks, rays and indicator species in the ‘true’ Gili Matra Marine Recreational Reserve on the west side of Gili Trawangan and the other less protected areas of the reserve which are open for diving, fishing, and other activities.
The work will be carried out with Dr. Domino Joyce, a lecturer in Evolutionary Biology and Zoology. The University of Hull has a rich background in Marine Sciences and we are proud to have them on board with us as we work together to protect what we love.
The Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung (ZMT)
The Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung (ZMT) in Bremen, Germany is focused on scientific monitoring of tropical marine ecosystems and tropical coastal environments in a biological, ecological as well as a social-economic context.
We support ZMT with its research on the Gili Islands. The overall aim of their research is to empirically analyze the social-ecological system in the context of scuba dive tourism on the Gili Islands. The Gili Islands have a social system represented by the dive businesses and an ecological system represented by dive sites.
Together we will be researching the connection between the social and ecological systems. The method that they will be using mainly interviews.ZMT is also going to link different dive sites based on their physical, biological, and species similarities. For this project, they will be using the raw data of our conducted fish and benthic surveys and roving surveys.
Elasmobranch Project Indonesia
In 2020 we became partners with Elasmobranch Project Indonesia an incredible new establishment with a mission to drive the protection of sharks and rays in Indonesia.
This citizen’s science-based project aims to raise awareness, gain better protection, and create an understanding of the behavioral patterns and species diversity of elasmobranch across the nation.
The wonderful part is everyone can help Elasmobranch Project Indonesia to achieve its mission by simply sharing your shark and ray sightings with them via their dataset on their website.
Almost 5 years ago, we became part of the world’s largest reef shark survey Global FinPrint embarked by Florida International University. The data was collected from baited remote underwater video stations (BRUVS) that consist of a video camera placed in front of a standard amount of bait.
Our research team dropped 200 BRUVS and spent hours and hours watching and analyzing videos.
“Of the 371 reefs surveyed in 58 countries, sharks were not observed on nearly 20 percent, indicating a widespread decline that has gone undocumented on this scale until now. But there are signs of hope! We now have a clear picture of what must be done.”
Interested in the full report? You can read it here.
Refill My Bottle
For our #PlasticFreeParadise campaign we teamed up with Refill My Bottle, a community of mindful business owners that made a commitment to preserve our eco-system. Together we created a network of water refill stations on the Gili Islands where people can refill their bottle for free or a small fee. By doing this we increase sustainability, have a lasting impact on the environment and keep our islands beautiful. Would you like to know where your closest Refill Station is? Download the app or check the map.
Do you have a business on the Gili Islands and are you interested in becoming a Refill Station? Just send a message to [email protected] and we get in touch with you. It’s up too if you want to offer water for free or for a small fee. If you want, we will showcase your business on the map of Refill Stations and we will add you to RefillMyBottle App.
The Pelita Foundation
Two girls met in 2014 for the first time in Indonesia. One of the things they have in common is their drive to make the world a bit more beautiful. How? By one random act at the time. One of the girls became the director of the Pelita Foundation and the other one became the director of the Gili Shark Conservation Project and in 2017 they started their official collaboration.
The Pelita Foundation and the Gili Shark Conservation Project both have a strong focus on education and empower each other by exchanging knowledge and sharing experience. Members of our research team have the opportunity to join the team of the Pelita Foundation in the weekend and join them on their mission to empower the children of Lombok to reach their fullest potential.
Are you not a member of our research team but would you like to join their program for a weekend and help the kids to improve their English, join their surf lessons and share life and leadership skills? Send us a message at [email protected].
Wanna know more?
Would you like to know more about our research or how you can get involved? Just send us a message at [email protected]