Time is Running Out for the Sharks in Europe

Thursday, 04 Nov, 2021

In February 2020 Sea Shepherd was one of the founding organizations of the European Citizens Initiative “Stop Finning, Stop the Trade.” Our goal was -- and is -- to gather one million signatures to end the trade of shark fins in the European Union. Commentary by Captain Alex Cornelissen, Sea Shepherd Global CEO.

The European Citizens' Initiative is a unique way for citizens of EU countries to help shape the EU by calling on the European Commission to propose new laws. Once an initiative has reached one million signatures, the Commission will decide on what action to take (learn more about this process here).

When we started this initiative, we expected we would reach our target in record time. After all, it’s the easiest way for people to take action and really make a difference for the sharks. It’s also a cause that almost everyone we have talked to agrees with; sharks shouldn’t be killed for their fins, we need to stop the trade.

One million signatures means that only one in every 400 EU citizens of voting age (18) needs to cast their vote for us to achieve our goal.  One in every 400, surely that can be done. But we are now 21 months down the line with just under three month left, and the numbers are still nowhere near enough.

As of November 3rd, we have gotten the support of 350,000 EU citizens (see the votes by country here). But we are still 650,000 short and have little time left. 

Obviously the pandemic couldn’t have come at a worse time for our Initiative. We were relying heavily on going out onto the streets in Europe to advocate for our cause and to gather signatures. Instead we had to make this a campaign that relies almost exclusively on online outreach. 

Many have signed already, and we thank you for it. Many have also vowed to sign before the initiative is over. But now our time is running out and we need everyone to cast their vote. 

This is an official vote, not a petition. Consider it as casting your vote for the EU parliament, only now the future of our ocean is at stake. If we manage to get our one million votes, we are allowed to present our case before the European Commission and push for the law to be changed and the trade in shark fins banned from Europe. It would be the biggest blow to the shark finning industry in history and the biggest victory in shark conservation. Millions and millions of sharks would be saved every year if the EU tightens the regulations.

So on behalf of the sharks and the ocean, I call upon you to please cast your vote here.

You will be asked for detailed information, as you would in any voting process. Remember, this is more than just a petition. The information is submitted directly to the website of the European Commission where it is gathered with the utmost confidentiality. Not even we, as the organizers of the initiative, can see who voted. All we know is how many people voted in each country. But the data is required so people cannot vote multiple times, just like you would in an election.

Take two minutes of your time to vote, it will shape the future of our ocean. Spread the message and get everyone you know to support us before we run out of time. Make it go viral. If there was ever a cause that would get maximum results from minimal effort, this is it.

For more information regarding the initiative:

Vote now:

Note: Because this is an official voting tool of the European Union, only EU citizens can participate in this. We are sorry non-EU citizens cannot vote. You can, however, help by sharing this with any EU citizens you know, asking them to vote in favour of the sharks. You can also help by making this Initiative go viral, so please pass it on!

For the Ocean
Captain Alex Cornelissen

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