FINSPIRE CHANGE UK
SHARK GUARDIAN CAMPAIGN
The U.K Bans the import and export of shark fins following the successful campaign by Shark Guardian
UK Shark fin ban moves forward in Parliament 15 July 2022
British Labour MP Christina Rees introduced her Private Member's Bill into the British parliament to ban the import and export of shark fins into the United Kingdom. This follows a successful Shark Guardian campaign that was started in 2020 which saw over 115,000 people sign a UK government petition by September of that year. In May 2021, the UK government launched its ‘Action Plan for Animal Welfare’ to include the import and export ban of shark fin into the UK. Shark Guardian was present in Parliament.
Government statement 12 May 2021:
The UK has a strong track record in marine conservation, and we have been pressing for stronger international action to protect sharks against unsustainable fishing practices and shark finning. Shark finning is the practice of removing a shark’s fins at sea and discarding the finless body back in the water. It is a barbaric practice that has rightly been banned in the UK for nearly 20 years, but we do still import shark fins which may contribute to the practice. To this end, we will bring in legislation to ban the import and export of detached shark fins.
The announcement of the ban was published in the UK Governments new Action Plan For Animal Welfare campaign that will revolutionize the treatment of animals in the UK and introduce measures to protect the welfare of animals abroad.
In the new Action Plan, the shark fin import and export ban falls under the 'Protect animals Abroad' section which states:
Prohibiting the import and export of detached shark fins to protect the iconic shark species
Why is there a campaign to ban shark fin in the UK?
Before our campaign, it was legal to bring 20kg of dried shark fin into the UK according to the 'fish and fish product' allowances set by UK Border Force without declaration.
20kg of dried shark fin potentially equates to hundreds of sharks butchered dependent on size.
Many of these fins could belong to threatened shark species listed under CITES (Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species). These would make their way into the UK illegally through the loophole identified in the import system.
It is required that imported items over the value of £390 be declared to UK Border Force. 20kg of shark fins can have a value of over £4,000. This identified a huge tax evasion opportunity.
Shark Guardian Finspire Change UK campaign as it happened:
March 2020: Petition launched
A UK Petition #300535 was launched by Shark Guardian Ambassador Robin Gallagher. Robin a Politics student at Portsmouth University, has had a strong interest in sharks. Robin set up a petition asking the UK to ban the import of shark fins. He is extremely proud to be a part of the Shark Guardian team.
The launch of the UK Petition #300535 to ban shark fin was vital and time sensitive. Having left the EU, the UK could champion conservation measures much more forcefully.
September 2020: 115,380 Signatures reached & Government responds
Success! The Shark Guardian Finspire Change UK Petition reached 115,382 signatures by the time the petition ended on 11th September 2020.
Since the petition surpassed the minimum number of 100,000 signatures, the UK Government provided their second (revised) response:
July 2022: Shark fin ban moves forward in UK Parliament
LONDON, 18 July 2022 – British Labour MP Christina Rees introduced her Private Member's Bill into the British parliament to ban the import and export of shark fins into the United Kingdom.
This follows a successful Shark Guardian campaign that was started in 2020 which saw over 115,000 people sign a UK government petition by September of that year. In May 2021, the UK government launched its ‘Action Plan for Animal Welfare’ to include the import and export ban of shark fin into the UK.
May 2020: Finspire Change UK Campaign launch
In order for a petition to reach parliament and be debated, a petition has to successfully reach at least 100,000 signatures. In order to achieve this Shark Guardian created the Finspire Change UK campaign to raise awareness and grow petition signatures with a strong social media presence and strategy.
Shark Guardian collaborated with NGOs, charities, publishers, media outlets, artists, scuba diving agencies and public figures through the Finspire Change UK campaign.