Fiji Shark Conservation

StudentUniverse  »  Fiji Shark Conservation

Fiji Shark Conservation

from £1,145
Duration: from 1 week
Countries: Fiji
This project is ideal for anyone with an interest in these misunderstood animals. Join the Fiji Shark Project, helping to determine the diversity and behaviour of these endangered species.
Summary

Fiji Shark Conservation

The Fijian archipelago lies scattered lazily in the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, bathed in the radiant antipodean sunlight. Its towns and villages are veritable melting pots of cultural influences.

Fiji's shores are fringed with picture-perfect palm trees, and the azure waters that surround the islands are inhabited by an array of marine creatures; over 1,200 species of fish including clownfish, triggerfish, blue tangs, 10 species of shark, 12 species of whales, dolphins, turtles, anemones, soft coral and much more.

Enjoy sun drenched days and warm nights of delectable food cooked in a traditional underground oven. Fiji will enchant you with its chilled out “Fiji time” lifestyle, its heavenly beaches and surrounding mountains of rainforest– the perfect paradise location for your Frontier adventure!

WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?
Sharks are critical to the functioning of our ecosystems, regulating the natural balance in their role as top predators. Shark populations are under great threat from fining, persecution, habitat destruction and climate change. The aim of the Frontier-Fiji Shark Conservation Project is to increase the understanding of shark populations around the island of Beqa, where data is known to be deficient, this information is vital for successful management strategies and shark conservation. We are determining the amount of species present, the abundance of those species, their behaviour and the structure of the populations. This information is vital in understanding the health of the local shark population and how at risk they are from certain human and environmental threats.  In addition to scientific data collection Frontier is working with local communities to raise awareness regarding the importance of sharks and help them to make informed decisions regarding the management of their coastal ecosystems for the protection of sharks.

To achieve this mission, we conduct scientific surveys on reefs occupied by sharks, investigating their population assemblage in relation to the marine habitat to better understand their population dynamics, behaviour and to better protect the species locally and internationally. Once population levels are determined and we have identified the factors contributing to either a decline in or enhancement of shark numbers, this information can be fed back to marine experts to assist in successful management strategies and we can we can increase our work with local communities; building awareness of the value and vulnerability of local shark populations and working to increase protections.

WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
The marine research and conservation programme is run in association with The University of the South Pacific. The work aims to provide the local stakeholders, research organisations and government bodies with the information they need to design and implement management plans for the future protection of shark populations and their habitat around Beqa island and lagoon.

To gather the data needed you will be diving in areas known to be frequented by sharks and studying their diversity and behaviour (if necessary you will learn to dive first). You will explore the surrounding coral ecosystems to determine what factors are contributing to changes in the shark population, such as, availability of food, pollution levels and the health of the coral reefs. To do this you will record the diversity of many fish and marine invertebrate species, assess diversity and cover of coral species, alongside recording various environmental factors.  This work is being carried out in partnership with The University of the South Pacific, with the aim of better understanding the population dynamics in the area and increasing protections of these endangered and poorly understood species. Frontiers scientific research techniques are robust and proven in the field including: roaming survey dives and line intercept transects for assessment of fish, invertebrate species as well coral diversity. In addition to working with the local shark populations you will also get the chance to carry out surveys on many ecologically and commercially important species of fish and invertebrate, from colourful little nudibranchs to the exploited snappers and groupers, you will be part of surveys assessing the general health of marine habitats, all being of great importance to local shark populations. The type of field work underway will depend on the time of year and the content of the research program when you join up and how long you are joining for. With so much to learn it's worth noting that those joining for only a few weeks will be training most of the time and may not get to do a lot of surveying.

Whilst diving, you'll see an extraordinary array of animals in addition to several species of shark; from turtles to manta rays, sea cucumbers to feathery starfish, spiny urchins to octopus and jellyfish. When you motor out on the Frontier boats to distant dive sites you may even encounter rays, humpback whales or flying fish. By the end of your project you will be expert in identifying several species of shark and will have knowledge regarding their ecology and conservation. You will also be able to identify vast numbers of colourful and patterned reef fish, marine invertebrates and coral, as well as being an experienced and competent diver. Although the work is intense and challenging you'll get immense satisfaction from contributing to the conservation of these iconic, yet endangered species. You will return home with the new friends you've made and a wealth of fascinating stories and memories.

You'll find your team to be a fun, dynamic mix of ages and experiences, with members who all share a passion about sharks, saving endangered marine life and travelling in developing countries. Your staff will be young, friendly individuals who are highly experienced in their field and many have volunteered on a Frontier project earlier in their career.


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Details

Further Details

More information about this gap year opportunity...

Price details:

from £1,145

Location

The South Pacific Island of Beqa, Fiji

Activities

Learn how to Scuba dive
Dive with various species of shark in a safe environment
Study the diversity of local shark populations through underwater census techniques
Help raise awareness regarding the importance of sharks with local communities in Fiji.

Scuba diving

Dive with several species of shark in a safe environment

Study the diversity of local shark populations in Fiji

Working with local communities, raise awareness regarding the importance of sharks within Fiji

Dive and snorkel to study the various marine life living on coral reefs that are essential for healthy shark populations

Explore the mangrove forests& productive intertidal areas

Survey the diversity and behaviour of a range of marine life, with a focus on shark species

Study the impact of artisanal fishing on sharks and coral reefs

Determine the effects of global warming on marine communities

Take part in critical habitat mapping

Transport

Free airport pickup and transfer to the island is provided for volunteers arriving on the first Monday of each month. For volunteers arriving on different days airport pickup, transfers to the island and accommodation for the first night can be arranged at a small additional cost.

Accommodation

Communal cast away style beach camp in the jungle, a few minuites walk from the bay

Before you go

Pre-departure support
Travel & medical advice & documentation
Equipment advice
Discounted medical kit
Free Frontier t-shirt
UK residential briefing weekend including food, accommodation and training FREE for 10 week+ volunteers (£80 per person for those participating for less that 10 weeks)

In-country


Cast away camp accommodation & food
Local orientation & comprehensive project training
Project equipment & camp diving equipment
Research materials
24 hour in-country support
International HQ emergency support & back-up

Free airport pickup and transfer to the island for volunteers arriving on the first Monday of each month. For those arriving on different dates optional airport pickup, transfers to the island and accommodation for the first night can be arranged at a small additional cost.

Diving projects: Dive training to PADI Dive Master courses available & FREE use of Frontier project dive equipment, including tanks, BCDs, Regs, weights, compressor & all air fills, boats, outboard engines (personal dive kit, including mask, fins, snorkel and wet suit not included). Scuba dive courses available subject to availability, confined water dives may be done in Suva.

PADI Open Water Diver £250
PADI Advanced Open Water £230
PADI Emergency First Response £100
PADI Rescue Diver £300
PADI Dive Master   £600

Dive kit available for rent in Suva

Night dives, fun dives, recreational dives and speciality dives available at extra cost

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Fiji beach

Fiji beach

Fiji divers

Fiji divers

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