Fin Free Bristol (& the world!)

by Matt Brierley in Bristol, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 29th June 2017 we successfully raised £8,255 with 64 supporters in 28 days

To work collaboratively to end the sale of shark fin and endangered shark meat in Bristol and the UK

by Matt Brierley in Bristol, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

Where do we go from here? Stretching the target!

We have been absolutely blown away by everyone's response to Fin Free Bristol [and the world!] and thanks to all our pledgers we reached £4,000. Our project is immensely fortunate as we have been working alongside Bristol Green Capital who would match fund us if we hit £4,000, provided we set our original project goal at £8,000. Thanks to our amazing backers we got to £4,000 and Bristol Green Capital pledged the remainder. That has taken us up to £8,000! Amazing!! We set that target daring to hope we'd get the match funding and now, wow, we're there! 

We can do an awful lot of good with £8,000 in working to our dual objectives of making Bristol endangered shark and shark fin free. But we want to do more. We want to take as many people as possible on Bristol's journey. We want to create a template to enable other cities to transition too. We want to make a killer film that wows global audiences. We're tenacious, we're dedicated, we're super grateful for the generosity we've encountered to date. However, we know we can do even more good with £12,000. 

Please help us to save sharks and save oceans. 

Thanks, you are JAWSOME! x


British people eating shark. It may not sound plausible. But it happens every day! British people eating Endangered shark? Yes, that's happening here too.  In top end restaurants, at fishmongers, in chip shops. And it isn't illegal.

We'd like to work with people catching, distributing and selling shark to:

1. Protect sharks, especially the endangered ones

2. Protect people - we've tested shark for heavy metals - they are seriously bad for you! 

3. Protect the oceans by making sure the top predators don't become extinct

This isn't a problem isolated to the UK, but we're based in Bristol so we are starting our UK and global movement here.  Our crowd funder aims to change things locally and inspire change nationally.  

How can it be legal to eat endangered sharks? Not just sharks! It's legal to eat endangered animals, unless a law states otherwise... and there aren't many laws like that. An animal is endangered if it sits within the IUCN's [International Union for Conservation of Nature] rarity criteria. The IUCN say 'Endangered' animals can be Near Threatened, Endangered, or Critically Endangered. However, the IUCN is non-governmental. It is up to governments to legislate. You may have heard of CITES but that's about trade and often Critically Endangered animals can be legally eaten if they weren't traded across international boundaries. It's important to stress noone is doing anything ILLEGAL in terms of sharks in the UK, but things obviously need to change...     


FUND A LOCAL MOVEMENT: FinFighters have been working hard to make Bristol shark fin and meat free. Sharks that are listed as endangered are commercially available in the city, as are species on the brink of becoming endangered. These top predators contain toxic heavy metals, and removing them destabilises the ocean ecosystem. 5000 Bristolians have petitioned the council and Bristol City Council have subsequently voted in favour of this change. FinFighters now needs to lead this change! As Bristol becomes shark fin and shark meat free we want to work with those presently selling shark to help the city during this important transition into sustainability. We don't want to leave anyone behind - we want to engender positive, sustainable and inclusive change. We don't want people who were unaware of the implications of their actions to feel isolated. So we will be holding workshops with restaurant owners & fishmongers, developing explanatory literature, and making a project film to explain the necessity of a shark free Britain and how Bristol's pioneering spirit can pave the way. We want to find positive and inclusive solutions that see Bristol safeguarding sharks.

MAKE A FILM: "Finito"  is an exciting film, which is partly made already. FinFighters are going to use this as a vehicle for positive action by urging its viewers to help Britain transition to shark fin and shark meat free. It begins in Morocco, showing work by FinFighters in demonstrating the extent of shark fishing there and how solutions have been found. We then understand Morocco's sharks are migratory and are, in fact, also the UK's sharks!!! [all this has already been produced and edited!]...

In the final [crowd funded] part of the film we want to use Bristol as a case study to outline the trade in shark in the UK, the associated health concerns, the fact these animals are often listed as endangered species and what that really means in terms of protection. We want to exemplify Bristol by showing, on screen, the positive movement that this crowd funder will have facilitated, thereby setting a template for change across the UK and the Western world. We want Bristol's restaurant and chip shop owners to be championed as ambassadors for change. We want people to see what inclusivity - and recently being European Green Capital - can achieve in terms of not only local but global action!

As well as making the film, we'll be hosting local film screenings [hopefully including @Bristol's Big Screen!], tutoring UWE wildlife filmmaking students in conservation storytelling, and working with Wildscreen and the BBC Natural History Unit. We enjoy a strong working relationship with Bristol Aquarium & will be attending Bristol's Food Festival to share our positive messaging too.     


In return for pledges there are some SERIOUSLY SHARKY thank you packages which you can read all about in our Donations and Rewards section. We're offering tickets to Shark Fest - the biggest celebration of sharks in the UK, and the Finito film movie premiere! There's 'Sea Urchins', a kid's magazine that inspires little ones to a love of the ocean. There are wildlife tours to pledge for, or attending a talk from BBC Shark. However, there are many other goodies too, and since a picture speaks a thousand words here's some to whet your appetite! 

In every package upwards from, and including, the Blacktip Reef Shark Package - amongst other goodies - you get this dreamy photo of a Caribbean reef shark to print out and ogle at your leisure. 


There's a pretty special Honoloulou's greetings card up for grabs...

And we've had some incredible handcrafted bespoke pottery made by Ella Phillips! 


Then of course there's the humdinging limited edition t-shirts! Available in azure or purple [the one below shows the design but not the colour...] Lou is wearing the azure in our project promo!

From £50 pledges upwards there's even some very tasty jewellery to sink your teeth into...  

Pledge £50 for this Jawsome Necklace, as well as loads of other amazing things c/o Honoloulou's in Bristol! 

£75 will get you [as well as many other gifts & a fuzzy shark-saving feeling] a VERY tasty JAWS Inspired Acrylic Shark Necklace:

Or feast your peepers on our range of pledges from £100 to get your mitts on a TIGER SHARK BROOCH or a MAKO NECKLACE amongst other incredible Honoloulou wares! 

Thanks for all your pledges! You're all jawsome. Finfighters x


Everyone is a volunteer!

FinFighters was founded by Lou Ruddell when she went to uni and was told on Day 1 that some shark species would be extinct by the time her course finished. So, she decided to save the sharks instead. Not being a scientist necessitated finding specialist help for investigation work, and Lou found the perfect ally in Manchester's PhD candidate Sam Hook. Today FinFighters have genetically profiled shark species in Morocco with the aim of quantifying species numbers to assess rarity, and show the Moroccan government what's really happening in their ports. Determined to be inclusive, they are working with local fishermen to find solutions. The science work is groundbreaking - they've even discovered a new shark migration route for Bigeye Thresher Shark. Once we know where sharks live, and travel to, we can get appropriate safeguards in place. Sam and Lou have also launched a Citizen Shark Programme in the UK to better under what's being sold and where. The overall aim is to create a database for genetic barcodes, encouraging fishermen to catch appropriate species. 

Below: Lou and Sam delivering Citizen Science at Shark Fest

Phil is Lou's partner in crime. He's a Bristol based artist and another great example that non-scientists who are empassioned can stand up for what they believe in and use their skills and talents for the greater good! Thanks to Phil we've got a man stroking a shark James Bond style in our promo film!

Lou, Phil & Sam have done great work in Bristol to date. Enter FinFighters Jasmine Tribe, who worked tirelessly in delivering SharkFest last year, the UK's biggest ever celebration of sharks, hosted by Bristol's M Shed. 

Below: Lou and Jasmine at SharkFest

There are other Finfighters too - Livia is facilitation manager and Clemency does social media.

Finally there's Matt who has set up this crowd funder. He is a wildlife filmmaker who wants to see more conservation films on TV. He is proud to have worked on prestige programmes like Planet Earth II but also believes low budget conservation films with strong and engaging narratives can really change things. Matt is in charge of the project film, Finito. Matt considers himself a conservationist but didn't know Red List species in the three endangered categories aren't protected by law by default. Shocked to find out it is legal to eat endangered shark in the UK, he's determined to change things! I mean, that can't be right can it???


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£5 or more

£5 Reward

The Small Spotted Catshark Package! A thank you upload for sharing on social media & a thanks on social media from us too! £5 discount on electronic purchase of the film! Your name in the Finito film credits as a “With Thanks To!” Email address required

£10 or more

£10 Reward

The Blacktip Reef Shark Package! An electronic copy of one of Underwater Wildlife Photographer Robbie Labanowski’s amazing images of a Caribbean Reef Shark An electronic copy of Sea Urchins kid's magazine A thank you upload for sharing on social media and a shout out from us too! £5 discount on electronic purchase of project film Your name in the credits as a “With Thanks To!” Email address required!

£15 or more

£15 Reward

The Lemon Shark Package! Blank "You're Jawsome" Greetings Card AND the Blacktip Reef Shark Package

£20 or more

£20 Reward

Bespoke handcrafted FinFighters tapas plate OR olive bowl! AND the Blacktip Reef Shark Package! [email address needed] OR A Shark Fest 2018 ticket [otherwise £10] [date and venue tbc, likely Brighton, UK in the Spring] AND the Black Tip Reef Package! [email address needed]

£25 or more

£25 Reward

Both the bespoke handcrafted FinFighters tapas plate AND olive bowl! Or substitute a piece of pottery for a Shark Fest 2018 ticket [otherwise £10] [date and venue tbc, likely Brighton, UK in the Spring] AND you also receive the Blacktip Reef Shark Package! [Email address needed]

£30 or more

£30 Reward

Kickass FinFighters t-shirt [see info] & the Blacktip Reef Shark Package. Email address required. You're brilliant! Thanks for pledging for the Angel Shark Package! [Email address required]

£35 or more

£35 Reward

Bespoke handcrafted FinFighters MUG or JUG plus invite to MOVIE PREMIERE & the Blacktip Reef Shark Package [You're truly awesome - thanks for pledging for the Hammerhead Shark Package!] Email address required. Movie premiere venue and date TBC.

£40 or more

£40 Reward

Bespoke handcrafted FinFighters MUG or JUG with the TAPAS PLATE! Plus MOVIE PREMIERE INVITE & Blacktip Reef Shark Package. You're jawsome! Thanks for pledging for the Greenland Shark Package! Email address required. Movie premiere venue and date TBC.

£50 or more

£50 Reward

UK Wildlife OR BBC Shark Experience. Choice of A, B or C. A]. Talk. Behind the Scenes of BBC Shark. BBC’s Rachel Butler [BBC Natural History Unit, Bristol]. 2 tickets. B.] Meet Expert Chris Griffin on Somerset Levels for half-day tour. [2 to join group of <10]. C] Meet Wildlife Filmmaker Matt Brierley on Somerset Levels this winter to see the starling murmuration. [2 to join a group <10]. INCLUDES Blacktip Reef Shark Package & PREMIERE too!

£50 or more

£50 Reward

Two tickets for Shark Fest 2018 as well as x2 film PREMIERE tickets. Venues and dates TBC. Sharkfest likely Brighton in the Spring. Plus the Blacktip Reef Shark Package! [email address required] This is our very special Manta Ray Package!!

£50 or more

£50 Reward

Inspired by 1975 blockbuster JAWS, the JAWSOME pendant is 10cm x 3cm, & comes gift ready in box. 3 colours of bonded laser cut acrylic, completed with a glorious glittery shark! You can choose to have this necklace on either a 18" gold or silver chain, with a matching 2" necklace extender to let you wear it at a length that suits. Also MOVIE PREMIERE TICKET and BLACKTIP REEF SHARK PACKAGE This is the Blue Shark Package!

£75 or more

£75 Reward

JAWS Inspired Acrylic Shark Necklace. Looking for a statement necklace? Look no further! Inspired by 1975 blockbuster JAWS, this necklace is perfect for any shark lover - or perhaps as a treat for yourself! Bonded laser cut acrylic, 18" curb chain, with 2" necklace extender to let you wear it at a length that suits you. Pendant at 10cm x 6cm. Plus Blacktip Reef Shark Package & PREMIERE ticket!! That's the Thresher package!!!

£100 or more

£100 Reward

Handcrafted Mako Shark necklace OR Tiger Shark Brooch. Brooch or necklace, your slender, elegant shark will look just as exquisite worn as it does underwater! Made with love, from 3mm laser cut plywood, paper & resin. Necklace on a 18” gold plated chain, with a 2” gold plated extender chain. Approx W 7.5 cm x H 2.5cm Plus x2 MOVIE PREMIERE tickets and the Blacktip Reef Shark Package. You are amazing if you pledge for the TIGER SHARK PACKAGE.

£250 or more

£250 Reward

Both the TIGER SHARK BROOCH and the MAKO SHARK NECKLACE Plus x2 tickets for SHARKFEST & MOVIE PREMIERE... AND the Blacktip Reef Shark package! You're amazing if you splash out on our MAKO PACKAGE! Sharkfest date and venue TBC - likely Spring 2018

£500 or more

£500 Reward

Both the TIGER SHARK BROOCH and the MAKO SHARK NECKLACE plus the whole pottery set AND t-shirt! x2 tickets for SHARKFEST & MOVIE PREMIERE... AND the Blacktip Reef Shark package! You're amazing if you splash out on our THRESHER SHARK PACKAGE! Sharkfest date and venue TBC - likely Spring 2018.

£1,000 or more

£1,000 Reward

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER CREDIT on the film. MAKO NECKLACE and TIGER BROOCH plus BOTH Jaws inspired necklaces. VIP at SHARKFEST & MOVIE PREMIERE [+ guest]. Whole pottery set & the t-shirt. Plus the Blacktip Reef Shark Package! Warm feeling for life and our eternal gratitude! That's THE GREAT WHITE PACKAGE!

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