Dierbergs Markets, a grocery chain in the Midwest states that shark steak is no longer an authorized purchase for its seafood departments.
In a December 12, 2011 letter from Dierbergs management, Mr. Todd Vasel stated that they have not placed an order for Thresher Shark steak since September and that it is no longer an authorized purchase for its seafood departments.
Congratulations to Dierbergs Markets for its decision to do the environmentally responsible thing to help protect the future of the seafood industry for generations to come. We thank you for joining other forward thinking businesses, individuals and governments who realize the importance in protecting the apex predator.
How did this victory happen?
For those of you who may have seen something that bothered you, but did not know how to make a difference, I can tell you that one voice can indeed change things. Last July, I saw Thresher Shark Steak for sale in one of our local markets. Being aware of the over fishing and poaching of sharks that has left the shark population in a critical state, I was very concerned. I snapped a picture with my cell phone and decided to contact the management.
I contacted the seafood buyer for the 23 store chain and found that their decision to carry shark steak was not a malicious choice…they did not want to destroy the balance in our marine environment…they simply did not have the facts to make an informed decision. Quite often, the seafood buyer’s only information is coming from the seafood vendor, whose job is to sell shark steak! In our case, the vendor was telling Dierbergs that “their” sharks were coming from an area of abundance! Because of the shark fin trade, they were able to offer the shark steak as an inexpensive seafood item.
I forwarded current and factual information to the buyer about the unsustainability of shark products. I included ICUN information, Shark Savers and Shark Foundation information, as well as some graphic videos. Unfortunately, I could not get Dierbergs to make a commitment to stop purchasing the shark steak.
At that point, I contacted Shark Savers for assistance. With their help, we were able to get an online petition circulating. My best advice is to keep pushing the petition. Don’t give up. Originally, I thought that it would be easy to get everyone I knew, and everyone that they knew to sign the petition.
I wrote to all of my friends, club members and put it on my Facebook page. After a few days, we had a total of 47 signatures…really???? That is the moment that you must keep working it. Remind people to sign and share. Many people began to post on Dierbergs Facebook page that they and their friends would not return to their stores until they made the commitment to stop selling shark steak.
It worked! We ended up with a respectable amount of signatures and comments on the petition, good pressure on Facebook, and lots of online support from magazines and blogs. The result was the decision by Dierbergs to no longer authorize the purchase of shark steak in any of its stores.
Kudos to Dierbergs and thanks to all that helped to make this possible!
The effort began in July, the purchase of shark steak stopped in September, and the official statement from Dierbergs Markets was received in December. The process worked and we made another tiny step toward saving our oceans. One person can make a difference. Opportunities abound. You just have to decide to be that “make a difference” person!