“We get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good day. Sometimes this makes planning our day very difficult.”
I have been a fan of this organization, located on my island home, Gili Air, since its creation in 2015. While the problems facing our ocean are on a global scale, local solutions are also necessary. Gili Shark Conservation was founded by passionate people trying to protect their home and their animal neighbors. I have personally watched them change the attitudes of islanders toward the ocean and its inhabitants. Watching them regularly create new ocean advocates is a constant source of inspiration to me!
Gili Shark Conservation is an award winning organization designed around conservation through citizen scientific research in the following areas:
It’s our mission to promote conversation efforts through education and research. To accomplish this we created a place in the heart of our community where we host researchers, scientists and ocean lovers who want to be part of the solution (or who want to make a difference).
Every day our research team goes out to collect abundance data within the zones of the Gili Matra Marine Recreational Reserve to assess the health of the environment and act to enhance marine protection and health where necessary. The data from our research dives helps us to assess the health of the individual zones within the marine protected area through identifying species populations as well as better understand species behavioral patterns and how we can help to protect what we love; our ocean.
On average we spend 8 hours per week underwater collecting data on sharks, turtles and corals. So far we’ve identified 204 green turtles, 66 hawksbill turtles, 18 white tip reef sharks, placed more than 60 hex domes and transplanted more than 1200 coral fragments. We removed 2351 pieces of debris out of the ocean, trained 254 people to be scientific divers and completed close to a 1000 survey dives.
We share our data sets with the Indonesian government and multiple local and international organizations and researchers to stimulate positive changes where necessary. Because we believe a strong community of different individuals can make a bigger impact on marine protection than a single organization.
As well as carrying out under water research we also have a land based mission to help protect the ocean from marine debris. We call it our ‘Plastic Free Paradise’ project. We believe that children are the future and that education is key; this is why every Saturday our team visits the local school to teach 120 children about conservation. Furthermore we offer training to all of the businesses on Gili Air to help to educate their staff about plastic free solutions. As well as our education programs we also host beach clean-ups and up-cycling workshops once a week and we have managed to successfully introduce over 75 refill stations across the island where people can go to refill their water bottles for a small charge or for free instead of buying a new plastic bottle of water.