Ban the Fin campaign in St. Louis to stop shark products at Dierbergs

Posted on October 18, 2011
Written by: Penny Miller and Samantha Whitcraft

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At Shark Savers, we are frequently asked by people interested in sharks what they can do in their communities to help protect sharks. In response, our BAN THE FIN program is designed to empower anyone to make a difference and become a grassroots shark advocate in their community.

For example, in July 2011, Penny Miller, a member of The Gateway Hammerheads dive club, noticed that a St. Louis area grocery store chain named Dierbergs had a special on thresher shark steaks from Ecuador. Concerned, she took a few pictures of the display and contacted the seafood buyer for the Dierbergs chain of markets.

The buyer returned Penny’s call, the next morning, to discuss the issue. The seafood buyer for the chain, stated that they were looking for less expensive seafood to offer and shark steak seemed to be the answer. Their vendor had assured her that the sharks in question were coming from an area of "shark abundance". Penny then followed up with details about the IUCN status of thresher species – populations vulnerable and decreasing – and an email link to theMonterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch list where shark meat is listed as ‘to be avoided’ because of not only unsustainable fisheries concerns but also because of mercury accumulation in apex predators.

In the weeks following, many emails were exchanged between Penny and the buyer for Dierbergs without a commitment to remove the shark meat from their stores. Then, in August, Penny took more pictures of the shark steaks still for sale in the Dierbergs seafood department.Penny and The Gateway Hammerheads began an email- and letter-writing campaign to encourage the store to eliminate shark products from their stores. They strategized that they could build momentum towards getting two additional local grocery chains,Schnucks Markets and Shop 'n Save, as well asSybergs Restaurants to join Dierbergs in discontinuing the sale of shark products in St. Louis and surrounding areas.

Between these three grocery chains and a multi-location restaurant, St. Louis is creating a market for shark that is now being addressed by the local community.

Sign the US Ban the Fin petition here.
Sign the Canada Ban the Fin petition here.

You can start your own BAN THE FIN campaign in your community too. Learn more.


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