Mardia: New Aquarist, Raja Ampat Research & Conservation Centre

For the past 13 years, AquaMarine Diving – Bali has conducted an annual ‘11 Months Zero-to-Hero PADI Divemaster Internship for Young Indonesians’. The Internship is a major initiative by AMD-B to re-invest in Indonesia’s dive community and to raise awareness of global and local environmental issues. Everyone in AquaMarine strives to provide the highest level of all-round training and guidance.

In addition, a major part of each year’s Internship includes participation in ‘Blue Project by AMD-B‘. These include Project AWARE’s ‘Dive Against Debris’, Adopt-A-Dive-Site, Beach and Underwater Clean-ups, as well as several other projects that raise awareness of global and local environmental issues. By the end of their programme, our Interns confidently pursue careers within Indonesia’s dive industry as well as with NGOs and other conservation organisations.

One of AMD-B’s two 2023 Interns, Mardia, is now working as the Shark Aquarist for the Raja Ampat Research & Conservation Centre (RARCC) (part of ReShark).


Mardia as the Shark Aquarist

In 2023, after three years of planning, the StAR Project, powered by ReShark, started its mission to rewild endangered Leopard sharks (also known as Zebra sharks or Stegostoma tigrinum) in Raja Ampat. The StAR Project aims to reintroduce 500 Leopard sharks to Raja Ampat, ultimately establishing a healthy, self-sustaining population. Furthermore, the project also serves as a roadmap, allowing scientists to apply what they have learned to the rewilding of other endangered elasmobranch species.

Last month, RARCC received a new batch of shark eggs from the Georgia Aquarium and the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay. All the eggs successfully hatched. Three of the pups have been named Wooly, Myra and Ethan.

Mardia said “It’s exhilarating to be part of the ReShark Team. Working closely with the sharks and ensuring their well-being fills me with never-ending excitement, curiosity, and a sense of fulfilment. Here, people call me “Mama Hiu” (Mummy Shark) which I find cute and I love it!”
Here’s her first Instagram video from her new job.