Fiji Shark Conservation

  • Who?Groups of at least 5
  • When? Projects have flexible dates and run all year round
  • Where? Pacific Harbour, Fiji
Fiji Shark Conservation
Fiji Shark Conservation

Being a Shark Conservation volunteer on a group trip can make a significant difference in the protection and conservation of various shark species. In Fiji, a world-renowned group of islands of sandy beaches and turquoise waters, there is truly the chance of a life-time to work on pioneering shark protection projects alongside respected scientists and shark research experts.

Fiji Shark Conservation
Fiji Shark Conservation

As a volunteer group, this project is for anyone with a true passion for marine wildlife and the great outdoors. The Fiji Shark Conservation Project gives you the opportunity to near to some of the most endangered and mis-understood animals in the world.

As a group on this project, you will be conducting the work of internationally renowned shark research scientists, being directly involved in scientific shark research work, as well as actively working within the local community on mangrove reforestation, recycling and shark education initiatives. Our resident marine biologist and local staff supervise will supervise the group and the conservation work. Projects Abroad also works closely with other local and international marine conservation organisations, including the WWF Global Shark Programme.

Volunteers don’t need any previous diving or shark research experience to take part in the Fiji Shark Conservation Project. However, volunteers need to be able to swim and be medically fit to scuba dive. This project is not available for people who do not want to take part in the diving.

What are the aims of this Conservation & Environment project?

Projects Abroad Shark Conservation volunteers pose for a group shot after a successful beach cleanup.
Projects Abroad Shark Conservation volunteers pose for a group shot after a successful beach cleanup.

The primary aim of the Shark Conservation Project in Fiji is to protect and conserve the 8 species of sharks that inhabit Shark Reef, as well as the many other species present in Fiji’s waters and to raise awareness of the need for shark conservation around the world.

The Fijian Government is in full support of the shark protection work in Fiji and sharks are currently at the top of the political conservation agenda.

Sharks play a crucial role in our oceans. Most sharks serve as top predators at the top of the marine food pyramid, and so play a critical role in ocean ecosystems. Directly or indirectly they regulate the natural balance of these ecosystems, at all levels, and are therefore an essential part of them. Sharks usually hunt old, weak or sick prey and help to keep the prey population in good condition, enabling these more naturally fit animals to reproduce and pass on their genes. The effects of removing sharks from ocean ecosystems, although complex and rather unpredictable, are very likely to be ecologically and economically damaging.

The shark research being carried out on the project in Fiji helps to ensure that scientists and marine protection lobbyists are provided with regular and consistent scientific data about the life history, reproductive information, movement and biology of the sharks found in Fijian waters. This information is vital for devising successful conservation and management strategies, helping to keep these specific shark species off the critically endangered species lists.

Dive Courses
Volunteer in a conservation project underwater with a shark in Fiji, Australasia.
Volunteer in a conservation project underwater with a shark in Fiji, Australasia.

Volunteers who have not dived before receive the PADI Open Water dive course during the first two weeks on the project. Volunteers with an existing dive certification equivalent to the PADI Open Water qualification will receive either the PADI Advanced Open Water course or the PADI Rescue Dive course, providing that they are 18 and over. After the dive course, volunteers will also receive the PADI AWARE Shark Conservation Diver Course, which involves both a theory and practical component, as well as a shark dive.

 

Those who already have the Advanced certification or higher will receive the PADI AWARE Shark Conservation Diver Course during their first week, and an extra Shark Feed Dive during their project time. All volunteers staying for four weeks or more complete the PADI Projects Abroad Survey Diver Distinctive Specialty Course. This course focuses on fish identification theory.

 

What is my role on this Conservation & Environment project?

As a volunteer on the Fiji Shark Conservation project you will observe and assist the local scientists with a wide range of on-going and long term research projects and activities, such as:

  • Tagging of baby sharks
  • Shark and Fish Indicator Species count surveys
  • Shark and Fish Indicator Species identification
  • Setting underwater cameras and retrieving data
  • Data collection, entry and analysis 
  • Critical Habitat Mapping and Local Ecological Knowledge surveys
  • Shark Lectures
  • Implementing a local shark awareness education programme
  • Shark nursery habitat project
  • Mangrove reforestation work
  • Recycling and climate change work

The work week is typically from Sunday to Thursday from 9am till 5pm. Although we try to include as many varied activities as possible, please be aware that many activities are weather dependent. 

The project is based in Pacific Harbour, on the south coast of Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu, just 3 hours from Nadi. While you are volunteering in Fiji, you will stay in two bedroom apartments or a nearby hostel. While in Fiji, you get a real insight into the island’s culture. Projects Abroad will also arrange a number of excursions and day trips to various places of interest around the island of Viti Levu.

This placement is fully researched, safety audited and risk assessed in accordance with the British Standard BS8848 for the Adventure Travel Sector.

 

Sample Itinerary

  • First week (Click for details)

    Day DATE TIME ACTIVITY
    1 Sunday   Arrive at Pacific Harbour. Receive dive books for study
    2 Monday 09:00 Breakfast
    10:00 Induction and local orientation
    13:00 Lunch at Uprising Beach Resort
    16:00 Dive course study
    18:00 Dinner
    3 Tuesday 07:00 Group pick up and transfers to Nawaka District
    07:30 Dive course day 1
    12:00 Lunch at dive shop
    17:00 Return to accommodation
    18:00 Dinner
    4 Wednesday 7:00 Breakfast
    7:30 Dive course day 2
    12:00 Lunch at dive shop
    17:00 Return to accommodation
    18:00 Dinner
    5 Thursday 07:00 Breakfast
    07:30 Dive course day 3
    12:00 Lunch at dive shop
    12:00 – 13:30 Return to accommodation
    18:00 Celebration dinner at Baka Blues Cafe
    6 Friday   Day trip to Suva – shopping and sight seeing
    7 Saturday   Beach break! Surf lessons at Beachouse Resort
    18:00 Pizza and movie
  • Second week (Click for details)

    Day DATE TIME ACTIVITY
    8 Sunday 07:00 Breakfast
    08:00 Shark survey workshop
    12:00 Lunch
    12:30 Survey dives
    17:30 Debrief and data entry
    18:00 Dinner
    9 Monday 09:00 Breakfast
    09:30 Tagging workshop
    12:00 Lunch
    13:00 Volunteer shark research assignment
    13:30 – 15:30 Tagging project at river to observe scientists catch and tag juvenile sharks
    19:00 Dinner
    10 Tuesday 08:00 Breakfast
    09:00 Village visit with traditional welcome
    11:00 Mangrove nursery and reforestation with villagers
    12:30 Lunch in village
    15:00 Volunteer shark research presentations
    18:00 Dinner
    11 Wednesday 07:00 Breakfast
    07:30 Survey dives
    13:00 Lunch
    14:00 Shark conservation diver course
    18:00 Dinner
    12 Thursday 07:00 Breakfast
    07:30 Shark dive
    13:00 Lunch
    14:00 Shark dive debrief
    18:00 Celebrate dinner and fire show at Uprising Beach Resort
    13 Friday 08:00 Breakfast
    08:30 Beach clean with school children
    12:00 Lunch
    14:00 Shopping at Arts Village
    18:00 Traditional Lovo dinner cooked underground
    14 Saturday   Leave for Nadi and fly home

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1 Free place with each nine students

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