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  • Harriet

Finspire Change UK update: what’s happened since the Call for Evidence?

Updated: May 17, 2021

If you’re new to our Finspire Change UK campaign journey then you can find a low down here and then here. If not, welcome back!

During the days and weeks following the end of the petition, we waited. And waited, and waited. Things were quiet for a month, so we took action.

We organised and created a table with details of over 100 MPs twitter accounts on. At just the click of a button you can send an automated tweet to your MP asking them to support the petition. We created postcards, a successful tool in sparking the interest of MP in the past. An eye-catching postcard, stating precisely what their constituent requests of them, with their constituents’ (your) signature on, physically in their hand or in their postbox is a powerful thing. Our campaign relied heavily on social media so we continued down this route by creating fact-files for pertinent MPs which were posted on our social media, asking for their support and explaining why their constituents cared about this issue.

We seldom heard back from MPs when we emailed, and their replies to constituents were the same generic copy and pasted text we’d heard too many times before… Our departure from the EU allows us to consider options to tighten the personal import allowance and improve the traceability of the shark in fin trade in the UK.” and “The UK Government is strongly opposed to shark finning. Shark finning is already banned in UK waters and we continue to support stronger international controls.”

Whilst MPs were saying positive things but dragging their feet, other governmental officials were taking positive steps forward. A call for evidence was issued. This was designed to provide the UK government with a better understand of the scale of the fin trade in the UK, the conservation, economic, social and cultural impacts of potential further restrictions such as banning the import and export of detached shark fins. Essentially, the government issue a bunch of questions in which NGOs, scientists and informed members of the public can submit their answers. This guides future decisions taken by the government so we were pretty excited to see it! We submitted our answers whilst rallying our supporters and allies to submit their own responses too.

Whilst it has always been stated that the petition would be debated at Parliament, the actual location was Westminster Hall. Due to COVID restrictions, Westminster debates were suspended from 14 January 2021 to 7 March 2021, creating further delays. However, the questions in the call for evidence are similar to those that would have been discussed in the petitions debate so to have them explored by government is a great step forward and may surpass the need f