December 13, 2019
Gili Shark Conservation
On our recent trip to Indonesia to shoot our latest collection Hidden Paradise
we wanted to take meaningful action in relation to sustainability in thanks to the land that had treated us so well.
Our Marketing & PR Manager Tash and the beautiful Madeline Joy Relph travelled from Lombok to Gili Air to experience the magic of Gili Shark Conservation
They caught up with Zara, conservationist and diving instructor of Oceans5
who are partners with Gili Shark Conservation.
She shared the ins and outs of this amazing research centre and inspired our team with the incredible work they do.
We want to share their incredible story with you & let you know how you can become part of their worthy narrative.
What is Gili Shark Conservation?
Gili Shark Conservation is a small grassroots organisation that was founded by three ocean lovers in 2015.
Located on the beautiful island of Gili Air, they work to promote marine conservation through research and education.
Being in the centre of the Coral Triangle, Indonesia should be home to some of the most unique and diverse species of sharks.
But unfortunately Indonesia is the largest shark fishing nation in the world.
With 70 to 100 million sharks being killed each year – the equivalent of two to three sharks every second – they will be extinct within our lifetime.
Both devastating and terrifying as sharks are roughly 400 million years old and are vital for keeping the largest ecosystem in our world healthy.
Without sharks, there will be a major degradation of reefs and local ecosystems, resulting in fisheries collapsing and diseases being spread.
The Gili Islands are still however home to some rare and unique marine life.
Divers have sited black and white tip reef sharks for many years, in particular juvenile sharks which show that this species have chosen the Gili Islands to be their nursery.
However both species are considered as near threatened. Gili Islands is also home to many green sea turtles and hawksbill turtles, both of which are endangered.
Therefore it is critical to protect their environment and place they have chosen to call home to ensure they do not become extinct.
In order for this to happen, Gili Shark Conservation needs your help…
Here’s how you can help 🦈
If you’re thinking of travelling to Indonesia, consider freeing up two weeks of your trip to go and visit our fellow eco warriors at Gili Shark Conservation.
They encourage travellers from all around the world to join the project.
From there they will educate you about marine life and the importance of marine conservation,
teach you how to dive and hope to inspire you to continue to be involved in conservation efforts.
Have no fear; you do not need to be a shark expert or even a trained driver. All they need is your time and love.
Anyone with a passion for the environment and a willingness to protect it is encouraged to join.
Stay for a minimum of two weeks you will be fully trained as a PADI Scientific Diver and a PADI Shark Conservation Specialist.
As a fully trained research assistant you will then be able to carry out research in protected areas by assessing the environment in each zone
and the data your collect will be submitted to the government in order to educate and inspire change.
AND the most remarkable thing about this - it's totally FREE!
The program not only focuses on shark conservation, but they are also working towards making the Gili Islands a plastic-free paradise through five strategic initiatives.
🥤🚫 PLASTIC FREE PARADISE ♻️🌏
#1. Beach and Underwater Clean-ups
If you do not have two spare weeks to become a research assistant there are many other ways you can help out the Gili Shark Conservation.
One example is to simply partake in a beach clean up.
Indonesia is sadly the second-largest contributor to marine plastic pollution with between 1.14 million and 2.40 million tonnes of plastic entering our ocean each year.
Due to this it's estimated that 100,000 marine animals die each year from ingesting plastic debris.
As an attempt to reduce the amount of plastic entering the waterways, Gili Shark Conservation work together with other businesses on Gili Air and hold beach clean-ups throughout the week.
They also encourage you to put any single use plastic bottles inside the mesh bags scattered throughout the island, which are taken to Lombok to be recycled responsibly.
To partake in the next beach clean up, access the community calendar on their Facebook page
every Monday to see where and when the clean-ups are held.
Gili Shark Conservation have noticed when people engage in beach clean ups they often pick up the bigger items and leave the smaller pieces behind.
These forgotten pieces then enter the ocean and turn into microplastics. In order to counteract this issue, Gili Shark Conservation have introduced eco bricks.
They pick up the small pieces of rubbish on their beach clean ups and put them inside a large plastic bottle to form an eco brick.
By filling empty two-litre plastic bottles with single-use plastics over time and delivering these to collection points,
the eco-bricks can then be used in the constructing of low-cost buildings within the community.
Through this innovative low-grade recycling jobs are created and communities benefit on multiple levels.
#2. Refill My Bottle
Gili Shark Conservation joined forces with other conscious businesses to introduce safe, clean-water refill stations around Bali and surrounding islands.
This is an attempt to encourage travellers to bring their own bottles and refill them for a small or no fee.
This stops the need for travellers to buy single use plastic bottles.
The cooperation with local businesses was so positive that they have been able to create an app with a map showing users where their closest refill station is located.
Gili Air now has over 60 refill stations so there is simply no excuse for travellers to buy single use plastic bottles.
#3. Gili Green
Bali is in the process of banning all plastic bags and Gili Shark Conservation have taken that into their own hands by launching the Gili Green initiative.
The Gili Green initiative encourages local restaurants to eliminate the use of single use plastics for which they will then receive the ‘Gili Green stamp’.
The restaurants only need to do three things to be accredited with the stamp -
have a refill station, serve drinks without plastic straws and offer plastic-free packaging for take away orders.
If they meet this criterion they will be accredited the ‘Gili Green stamp’ and will then be placed on the Gili Green map.
The Gili Green map highlights the businesses that do not use single-use plastics to make it easy for conscious travellers.
This will drive business for those who are considered Gili Green and hopefully then encourage those who aren’t to change their habits.
#4. Plastic Free Paradise Training
Plastic Free Paradise Training is offered to all businesses on Gili Air free of charge.
They educate businesses on the issue of plastic pollution and the simple solutions they can implement to keep their island paradise green and clean.
They offer this training, as many businesses are uneducated on the impact single-use plastics has on our planet.
The training only takes around 2 hours and they will then be accredited with a certificate of completion.
With 10 new businesses partaking in the training, Gili Air will soon be free of single-use plastics.
#5. Conservation Classes
In an effort to give the gift of conservation, Gili Shark Conservation holds conservation classes.
The research team visits the school on Gili Air every Saturday and educates kids on marine life and the importance of preserving it.
Through these educational classes, they aim to inspire the kids of Gili to become the conservationists of our future. When you go to Indo next remember to…
- Visit the Gili Shark Conservation
- Bring a reusable water bottle
- Download the app to locate the nearest refill stations and Gili Green restaurants
- Partake in beach clean-ups and make your own eco brick
- Recycle single-use plastic bottles responsibly in the designated mesh bags around the island
- Wear sustainable swimwear that is ocean-friendly.
Make your next holiday count by volunteering at Gili Shark Conservation, or simply follow the above steps.
Together we can preserve precious marine life and work to make the Gili Islands, and Indonesia a plastic free paradise 💚