The Fin Free™ movement was founded by United Conservationists in 2010 and has since reached thousands of individuals in support of shark conservation worldwide. United Conservationists’ mission is to bring conservation and activism into our daily lives. There is nothing more important than conservation because conservation is the preservation of human life on earth - and in turn, nothing cooler than fighting for ecosystems and species. Together we are raising awareness and creating a community of change. Most importantly, we are hoping to inspire unified environmental activism all over the world.
By taking the pledge, you commit to:
The demand for shark fin soup and shark products has decimated shark populations by an estimated 90%.
As keystone species in the ecosystem responsible for producing at least half of the oxygen in the air we breathe, sharks are important not just to the oceans but to our survival as well. We're urging world leaders at every level to join leading nations and states such as Hawaii, California,New York and many of the Pacific Islands to BAN THE TRADE, SALE AND POSSESSION OF SHARK FIN PRODUCTS. In doing so, we will be giving sharks a much needed chance to recover, while protecting our oceans, and all who depend upon them.
Shark finning violates the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries as more than 95% of the shark is wasted. It also violates the UN FAO Intl Plan for the Conservation and Management of Sharks.
“Finning” bans have proven to be ineffective in reducing the global slaughter of sharks, due to the high incentives to get shark fins at all costs. Therefore, only a ban of the very product that is driving the trade will put an end to this global disaster.
We are looking for passionate, dedicated and dynamic individuals to head up our regional efforts to reduce the consumption and sale of shark products and to ban the trade of shark fins. There are so many cities, states and countries just waiting for your help to save sharks! While the positions are unpaid, you will have the chance to help save sharks, generate a community of caring people, and have a massive finpact on the planet.
We are looking for individuals who have some or all of these qualities:
In addition to becoming Fin Free, there are many ways you can actively participate in our campaign by donating your skills to the cause.
Sharks have been swimming on this planet for over 400,000,000 years and help to keep the ocean’s ecosystem in balance.
Sharks have been on top of the ocean’s food chain for all of that time and keep marine life in a healthy, regulated balance. By helping to keep the ocean healthy, they are protecting a resource that produces more oxygen than all of the rainforests combined, removes half of the atmosphere’s manmade carbon monoxide, and controls our planet’s temperature and weather.
As the apex predators of the oceans, the role of sharks is to keep other marine life in a healthy balance and to regulate the oceans. Remove sharks and that balance is seriously upset. Studies are already indicating that regional elimination of sharks can cause disastrous effects including the collapse of fisheries and the death of coral reefs.
Some shark populations have dropped by 90%. The oceanic white tip shark has been decreased by 99%! All in the last thirty years! Sharks are being fished at the rate of 100,000,000 sharks per year. 10,000 sharks an hour.
One third of all pelagic sharks are threatened with extinction, and half of the shark species targeted by commercial fisheries are threatened. In 2010, The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species included 74 shark species as being at high risk of extinction (Critically Endangered, Endangered, or Vulnerable).
Another 72 shark species are currently approaching threatened status (Near Threatened) and another 232 shark species are listed as Data Deficient since there is not enough information available to assess their population numbers. Effectively, as there are roughly 500 species of sharks, the IUCN has assessed 30% of all shark species at either a High Risk of Extinction or approaching this status. And for almost every one of these species, the population trend is “Decreasing” or “Unknown”.
For many shark species, the IUCN lists “shark finning” as the main cause of population decline. Concurrently, some of the species at greatest risk are those that are highly prized in the shark fin trade including Great and Scalloped Hammerheads, listed as Endangered / at a Very High Risk of Extinction. Additionally, Smooth Hammerhead; Great White Shark; Whale Shark; Basking Shark; Oceanic Whitetip; Shortfin and Longfin Mako; Porbeagle Shark; Sand Tiger Shark; Bigeye, Common and Pelagic Thresher; Sandbar Shark; and the Dusky Shark – are all listed as Vulnerable / at a High Risk of Extinction.
Sharks reproduce very slowly, have long gestation periods and reach sexual maturity very late, and as a result, do not get a chance to rebound their population numbers before being indiscriminately fished out again. Sharks have survived more than 400 million years, but at the current rate of destruction, they are not considered a renewable resource. Some scholars estimate sharks could fundamentally disappear within the next ten to twenty years.
Sharks, often while still alive, are pulled from the ocean after fighting for hours if not days on long lines. The fins are sliced off and the animal is thrown back into the sea, unable to move, to die a slow and painful death – either suffocating, bleeding to death or being eaten alive.
The majority of sharks’ fins are used for shark fin soup. Another major concern is that shark products (such as squalene and shark oil) are used for a shocking amount of different products, including energy drinks, vitamins, pet supplements, dog toys, lipsticks, lotions, shark leather, and vaccines.
Shark fin soup has been a highlight at important occasions such as corporate banquets, weddings, and New Year’s celebrations for centuries. But, over the last 30 years, the number of people eating shark's fin has risen from a few million in the 1980’s to more than 300 million today.
Shark fin is a tasteless ingredient added to soup flavoured with chicken or pork broth and spices. And while the supply is plummeting, the demand for shark fin is putting our planet’s sharks, and health, at risk.
Shark fin soup has been a Chinese delicacy since the Ming Dynasty during which time, only the Emperor and his guests ate it. Until about thirty years ago, shark fin soup was served mostly in Hong Kong and other cities with Chinese populations, but only rarely in China itself. This relatively low consumption of shark fin soup did not result in a significant problem for shark survival. The popularity of shark fin soup rose in the 1980’s as standards of living began to improve, and today, it is considered a status symbol at banquets, weddings and other special occasions. Serving it demonstrates the host’s wealth and prosperity given the soup’s price – upwards of $400 per bowl.
Shark Fin Soup is either served with fins intact, or where shark fin strands are pulled apart and served to add texture like a noodle would. The fin adds no nutritional value, and in fact, in most cases, can be dangerous to human health because of the extremely high levels of mercury present in shark meat and products.
Shark fin soup is consumed in Korea, Vietnam, Japan, and Thailand, although it is most commonly associated as a Chinese delicacy. The consumption of shark fin soup is mistakenly defended as a long-standing Chinese tradition, despite the fact that it has only started becoming accessible to the mainstream in the last 50 years due to its’ extremely high price and elitist reputation. In a recent survey conducted by the University of Hong Kong Social Sciences Research Centre, shark fin soup was part of a set menu in 86.9% of the cases, indicating that people mostly consume it because it is a pre-ordered item; with 78% of the respondents noting it is acceptable to leave it off the wedding menu. 85% of the respondents expressed strong or moderate support for the prohibition of the import of shark fins and 87.9% felt that the Hong Kong government should prohibit the sale of products that involve killing endangered species, showing a growing trend of refusal to support shark finning practices amongst the Hong Kong population.
Recent studies show precipitous declines in shark fin soup imports to China - as much as 70% - awareness is changing the world already!