British Divers Write to Your MP to Vote on Shark EDM
We reported on 8 September 2020 that 5,920 UK citizens needed to sign a petition before the deadline ran out on 11 September 2020.
The petition started by 'Shark Guardian' needed a minimum of 100,000 signatures, in order for Parliament to consider debating whether to ban the import of shark fins into the UK. Divers and the general public responded to the call to action on social media, and within 24 hours 107,626 folks had signed the petition. It now stands at 115,380 signatures and the petition is closed.
This has been a long campaign fought by a number of environmental parties including NGO 'Mother Ocean Blue' and 'Bite-Back', a UK-based charity dedicated to shark and marine conservation.
Graham Buckingham, the founder of Bite-Back, gives me great hope. I am certain he will achieve his aim of eradicating shark fin soup in the UK. He proves one person with heart and drive can make a difference. Steve Backshall, Patron Bite-Back
Divers - lobby your MP
It is not a time to celebrate. Although the required number of signatures has been achieved in order to trigger the possibility of a debate in Parliament, it is just one step in the journey to ban shark fin imports. UK divers now need to lobby their local MP to support this Early Day Motion so that it gains traction. An EDM can easily fail if high profile and senior MPs from both sides of the house don’t back it.
Please take a few minutes to write to your MP and ask them to support the Early Day Motion to completely ban the UK import of shark fins. You can find the address of your MP here.
When you write your email, please consider the following:
1) Be polite and to-the-point
2) Include your name and address so that your MP knows you are a local constituent
Unfortunately, it seems that identical messages being sent to MP can be blocked, so it is very important that you use your own words. As guidance, here are some points you can include when writing your message:
- Say that you are supporting the campaign to ban shark fins being imported in the UK
- We need a healthy shark population because it helps maintain the balance of our ocean ecosystems. The World Wildlife Fund states that around 100 million sharks may be killed annually
- While the practice of finning is banned in the EU, there is nothing to stop fins being chopped off in waters around the world, being processed in the Far East, and then brought into Britain
- At present anyone can carry in 20kg of shark fins into the UK – you don’t need to declare it. Our border agents do not have the expertise to say "that one’s an endangered species, that one’s not." A blanket ban would assist and empower our overstretched border agents
- Canada is the first G20 country to ban the import of shark fins. Great Britain could be the first European country to ban the import of shark fins
- This would be a very positive piece of legislation and Parliament now have the power to pass it. The British Government has previously said its hands were tied – it couldn’t unilaterally ban the import of shark fins while tied to Brussels. Once the Brexit transition period passes at the end of this year, Parliament will be able to vote to ban the import of shark fins into Great Britain
- DEFRA has already given its blessing for this to happen. DEFRA stated on 29 June 2020 "the UK Government is strongly opposed to shark finning. Shark finning is already banned in UK waters. Having left the EU, the UK can champion conservation measures much more forcefully".
- Ask your MP to please support the Bill. You can direct them to this Parliament Petition
It is very easy to assume that now that the required number of signatures has been achieved, that British politicians will pass the legislation needed to ban the import of shark fins into the UK. However if divers do nothing, and sit on their hands, it will not happen and we will have wasted this opportunity to make a change.