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Fin Fighters

"We had a fantastic couple of days last weekend ... getting over 800 more signatures for our finfree Bristol campaign (yes 800!!) and loads of interest and support from lots of people. Very exciting to have over 5,000 signatures now!"

Grants awarded - £500 (2015), £1000 (2016)

Fin Fighters are a new UK shark conservation organisation on a mission to protect sharks worldwide and end the sale and distribution of shark fin in the UK by the year 2023.  Through their work, in 2013 Cambridge became the UK's first city to officially condemn shark fin. Through lobbying the city council and petitioning the community Fin Fighters secured the first ever backing of a council in the UK to protect sharks.

2015 - Fin Fighters used Sea-Changers' funding to initiate two further 'Fin Free by 2023' projects - in Sheffield and Bristol - and run media events, lectures, street theatre, regular public engagement events and school and university visits. Most importantly, Fin Fighters have been able to create two local Fin Fighters community groups who are now working on the next stage of these projects –  to lobby local council and media for condemnations of the sale of shark fin.

These two groups regularly meet and petition the public to raise awareness and gather support. Fin Fighters expect by the end of 2016 to have made both of these cities 'fin free'.

2016 - We have contributed to Fin Fighters' new Citizen Science Shark project.  By training volunteers to conduct genetic sampling and necropsies and to gather data by monitoring landings and surveying Fisherman, Fin Fighters are creating an opportunity for conservationists and concerned citizens to have a positive impact and learn new skills for the benefit of species conservation.   Fin Fighters have also begun working with their CSS volunteers and artisanal fishermen to establish the beginnings of a species education program and working with fishermen on basic training in DNA data collection from their landed catches. This also opens up dialogues between fishermen and conservationists and allows for understanding and solutions to be constructed.

Outcomes

2015 - There are over 100 members of the Bristol Fin Free group and around 150 – 200 people attend their events. Bristol event volunteers average 20 - 60 depending on what activities are being run.  In Sheffield there are 60 members in the Fin Fighters group, of these, 20 are active regular volunteers who staff stalls and events.

Over 5,500 petition signatures for the campaign have been collected in Bristol and over 2,000 signatures in Sheffield. More than 20 events have been run across the two cities.

In Bristol, the campaign has the official support of 5 city councillors to date; in Sheffield 2 councillors have signed up.

2016 - the project is still running and hasn't been evaluated yet.

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