Is volunteer Shark Conservation in Fiji for high school students right for me?
If you enjoy spending time in the ocean and dream of island living, you’re cut out to be a volunteer on our Shark Conservation High School Special in Fiji. This project is open to adventurous teens from all corners of the globe who are passionate about protecting oceans.
Volunteer shark conservation work in Fiji for high school students will give you loads of opportunities to learn important life skills, like working closely with a team. Talk about your experience in interviews or applications, and show your ability to commit to a good cause. It will give your CV an extra edge.
You don’t require any prior experience or training. During your first week, you’ll earn your PADI Open Water certification. If you already have this, you’ll move on to an Advanced Open Water course. Our diving instructors will be with you throughout training and during each dive to ensure safety.
What will I be doing on the project?
During your first week on the project, you focus on your diving course. By the second week, you’ll be in the water and can start doing research.
Let’s take a look at a few of the specific things you’ll do:
- Complete your PADI Open Water Diving qualification
- Dive with sharks and helping scientists conduct important research
- Help with beach clean-ups and get muddy planting mangroves
- Expand your horizons by experiencing Fiji and its culture
High school students volunteering with sharks in Fiji will focus on the following areas:
Learn to dive and get a PADI Open Water qualification
The first part of the project will focus entirely on getting you comfortable in the water. Those who have no diving experience will do a PADI Open Water course. If you already have that qualification, you’ll level up to Advanced Open Water.
PADI diving certifications don’t have an expiration date, so this qualification will enable you to explore underwater worlds for many years to come! Once you’ve completed your PADI training, you’ll also take part in a Shark Conservation Diver Course.
Diving with sharks
How’s this for a tick off your bucket list? No need to worry about your safety while diving with sharks. You will be under the supervision of qualified Dive Masters at all times.
After this, you will be able to assist with global shark research by tagging juvenile sharks. Data collected will help researchers better understand their movement and habitat preferences.
On the tamer side of things, you will help us do beach clean-ups. Local children will join you, making it a great opportunity to talk to them about ocean conservation and share why it’s important.
You will also help plant mangroves. Mangroves provide homes to many species of plants and animals. They also play a protective role for communities and vulnerable coastlines by preventing soil erosion and providing cover from extreme weather. Mangrove reforestation plays an important role in our overall conservation efforts in Fiji.
In 2017, high school volunteers planted approximately 2,500 mangrove propagules in the Projects Abroad nursery!
Experiencing Fiji and its culture
During your two week program, you will also have plenty of opportunities to socialise with your fellow volunteers, make new friends, and experience island life.
Staff members will be present to supervise and guide all these activities to ensure everyone’s safety throughout the programme.
Who are our partners?
Our partner dive organisation, Beqa Adventure Divers, are at the forefront of shark protection in Fiji. Their safety record on shark dives is 100%. There have been no shark related accidents or injuries to any divers on their shark dive trips.
We also work closely with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) who help all our volunteers get their diving qualifications.
Finally, the WWF also supports our work through various research projects. WWF Global Shark Programme Manager, Ian Campbell, has described our Shark Conservation project in Fiji as “the most important shark conservation project in the world.”
Where will I be working in Fiji?
This part of the island is renowned for its 80 km stretch of pure white sand and cobalt oceans. With water-based activities being central to this project, you will have ample opportunity to explore the magnificent natural beauty.
Importantly, you will also be playing an important role in preserving beaches through cleanups and mangrove reforestation.
During your stay, you will be sharing same-sex dormitories with your fellow volunteers.
What are the aims and impact of this project?
The main aim of the the Shark Conservation Project in Fiji is to help generate accurate scientific data. This is used to increase shark awareness among the local communities and the general public.
We started our Shark Conservation Project in Fiji in January 2014 in response to the declining shark population in this area. The Fijian government has identified shark protection as a top conservation priority. Although marine protected areas have been set up to address the decline in shark numbers, the population continues to decrease.
We also collaborate with the Mangroves for Fiji initiative to replant seedlings and ensure a healthy and sustainable mangrove forest around Pacific Harbour region.
Mangrove forests are a natural barrier for protecting the coastline against erosion, sea level changes, storm surges and tsunamis. They also support coral reef systems by providing nutrients and serve as a nursery for numerous marine species.
Apart from helping the environment, this project is also a great way for you to expand your horizons and your skill set. You will leave with a better understanding of conservation, insight into a different culture and friends from all over the world.
Meet the team in Fiji
We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.
Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.
Measuring our impact
Every year, thousands of High School Special volunteers and interns actively make a difference around the world. During their time abroad, they contribute towards achieving long-term goals and make a long-lasting positive impact on the communities where they work.
We produce an annual High School Specials Impact Report, which documents some of these achievements. Find out more about the impact of these projects, and read the latest report.
Safety and staff support
Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have all the extra support you need as a young person travelling abroad. Our Projects Abroad staff are there for you 24 hours a day during the week and over weekends to provide constant support and guidance. Our staff also make sure you feel comfortable and safe at your placement and accommodation. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.
Find out more about safety and backup.