Being able to conduct rapid species assessments is becoming increasingly more important as a conservation research tool. Our research team uses the ‘Roving Diver Technique”, a visual surveying method designed specifically for actively seeking out and positively identifying indicator species (especially fisheries targeted species) during a dive. Data on species composition, sighting frequency, and abundance of all fishes are collected using this surveying method. The data is inputted into several online databases to contribute to various marine biologist studies of current shark and ray populations, as well as our own data log for fisheries management strategies.


The Gili Shark Conservation research team goes out for 8 dives a week throughout the Gili Matra Marine Reserve to conduct Roving Survey dives with Oceans 5 dive resort. The research team member undergoes a thorough training in the first 2 weeks at the project including fish identification training and indicator species test before their data is counted.

Diving in one group the team records all correctly identified indicator species over 30cm on a survey slate including number of individuals, species name, size, sex, and time of the dive it was spotted. The size is confirmed using a t-stick device that is 1 meter by 30 cm and records the dive time using an underwater timing device or dive computer. Each individual diver records a set of data. After the 30 minute mark is over we continue our dive recording shark, ray, and turtle sightings until the first diver reaches 70 BAR. Once on the surface the group’s sightings are compared and combined into one set of data per survey dive.

These dives are lead and monitored by our lead research diver. First researchers must become good scuba divers before they progress onto research diving skills. A dive instructor is on every dive with the assistance of 1 dive master to ensure the safety of the team.


The data is submitted into various online databases including eOceans, SharkBase, and our own database. By submitting the data onto these platforms, we contribute to marine conservation efforts worldwide.

Partnered with other projects including the Baited Remote Underwater Video and the Photographic Identification projects we use the collective data and results to change to parameters of the Gili Matra Marine reserve to create a more effective local marine management strategy. Regulating no-fishing zones and limiting tourist access to critical habitats including breading grounds, nurseries, and congregation areas to maintain and regrow identified target zones throughout the reserve.

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