Shark Allies are an organization committed to protecting sharks and rays. They pursue this goal by changing both public opinion about these misunderstood creatures, and changing US laws by mobilizing the legislative process to pass bills that outlaw the shark fin trade that endangers so many species.
They’re waging their current campaign in the great state of Florida, facilitating the introduction of two bills to the state legislature (SB680 and HB401). The process of getting a bill to the floor of the House or Senate is long and complicated, and involves a little bit of luck, a lot of passion, and a heaping helping of knowing what to say, what action is needed, and just the right time and place to apply it.
Shark Allies has partnered with the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation to make that process as simple as possible to navigate. If you visit their action page, you’ll find constantly updated information about their current campaigns, including ways that you can help. The action page features contacts for local Florida representatives and sample texts of what to say when you call their office, as well as letter templates for Florida businesses that want to add their influence in affecting the policies that govern their communities (Shark Allies will even hand-deliver them for maximum impact).
As many divers know, living sharks are a renewable resource, attracting tourists from all over the world to Florida beaches again and again. Even for those not inclined to animal advocacy, the prospect of the income-in-perpetuity generated by wild sharks clearly trumps the one-time nominal fee netted by the sale of their fins.
The current priority is to get the bills through the multiple committees whose approval is necessary for getting them on the schedule for voting. Shark Allies will know by December whether or not they’ve secured a hearing, and if they do, check the page above to find out where you can go to get your voice heard. They’ll tell you where to park, what’s appropriate to wear, and even suggest some verbiage to make your opinion known.
If you’re not a Florida resident or business owner, there are still ways to help. Go to the Shark Allies page anyway for some suggestions, or vote with your dollars — visit their merch shop and buy some shark-related goodies (Christmas is coming…). 100% of the proceeds go towards shark conservation. However you choose to contribute, show a shark some love by supporting Shark Allies.