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Bite-Back Shark & Marine Conservation
BB 2017 square logo CMYK.jpg
Registration no.Charity No. 1137772
FocusMarine conservation
MethodEnd the profit opportunities for shark-derived products in the UK and lower consumer and retailer demand for threatened marine life.
Steve Backshall[1]
Key people
Graham Buckingham[2]

Bite-Back[3] is a UK-based charity dedicated to shark and marine conservation which believes that over-fishing, coupled with the over-consumption of wild fish, are the two biggest threats facing the marine world. Through its work[4] of defending the high seas on the high street it seeks to educate people about the issues facing the only truly wild items[5] stocked by supermarkets and to empower its supporters to help change the way fish is consumed. The charity's goal is to encourage retailers to put conservation before commerce.

Founded in the UK in 2004 by Graham Buckingham[6] the charity's online campaigns have primarily focused on encouraging restaurants and retailers to stop selling endangered fish species and make Britain's retailers shark-free. Bite-Back is working to ‘devalue’ a dead shark by ending the profit opportunities for all shark and shark-derived products in the UK including shark fin soup, shark cartilage, shark jaws, shark teeth and oils.[7]

Consumer campaigns[edit]

Supermarket Protests[edit]

Successes from its supermarket campaign include persuading Japanese-inspired restaurant chain Wagamama to remove shark from its menu,[8] encouraging supermarket giant Asda to take shark off its shelves across the UK[9] and Mary Berry - British chef, food writer and judge on the Great British Bake Off - to remove a shark recipe from her cookery book.[10][11]

Hacked Off[edit]

Its 'Hacked Off' campaign, which aims to halt the sale of shark fin soup in the United Kingdom, inspired the London-based Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant Hakkasan to stop selling the controversial soup.[12][13] Having spearheaded efforts across the UK to reduce shark fin sales, in 2018 the charity reported that the number of British restaurants serving shark fin soup had reduced by 82%.[14]

As part of the organisation's quest to devalue a dead shark and make the UK shark-free, Bite-Back encourages its supporters to contribute to its 'shark sightings' map, a comprehensive collection of shops, fishmongers and restaurants which still continue to sell shark products.

In 2014 it worked with one of its fundraising partners, Sea Life London Aquarium, to capitalise on the Chinese New Year to rally supporters and raise awareness of shark finning by distributing ‘mis-fortune cookies’ containing special messages focusing on the issue.[15]

No Fin To Declare[edit]

After collaborating with The Independent's Oscar Quine [16] to call a top London restaurant's shark fin supply into question, Bite-Back worked with Trading Standards and Westminster City Council to investigate their source. The Royal China Club was subsequently found to have been illegally importing shark fins for its £38 a bowl soup[17] and its stock was confiscated and destroyed.[18]

Having exposed a loophole in European legislation that allows anyone entering Europe to bring 20 kg of dried shark fins, the charity launched its No Fin To Declare campaign in April 2015. Bite-Back maintains that each 20 kg haul can make 700 bowls of shark fin soup and, at £180 per kilo,[19] be worth over £3,600, prompting restaurants to abuse personal import allowances as a 'back door' for the unregulated introduction of shark fins to the restaurant trade.

The charity is currently working with the Marine Species Conservation team at DEFRA and Green MEP Jean Lambert to change the personal import allowance, re-evaluate the legislation and vote to make it illegal to bring any shark fins into the EU.

Media activity[edit]

Mind Your Language[edit]

In July 2018 Bite-Back launched a campaign for responsible shark journalism,[20] reminding media that Jaws was not a documentary and calling for the press to stop describing sharks as 'killers', 'monsters' and 'beasts'. Supported by celebrities including Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Steve Backshall, the charity's "Media Guidelines" aim to help UK and international press report shark encounters more accurately and in a way that won't thwart shark conservation initiatives.

The campaign also received the support of Wendy Benchley [21], wife of Jaws author Peter Benchley, who worked with her husband as a marine conservation advocate to overcome the excessive fear of sharks prompted by the novel.[22][23]

Bite-Back's quest to inspire responsible shark journalism inspired much debate across national radio stations, with campaign director Graham Buckingham interviewed by UK stations including Heart[24], LBC[25] and on the BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show, hosted by Chris Evans (presenter)[26].

Shocking Shark Stats[edit]

Research[27] commissioned by Bite-Back in November 2017 into attitudes towards sharks and the oceans found that Brits are in love with the oceans, but not with sharks. While 83% think more should be done to protect the world’s oceans, the charity found that 46% of Brits think sharks are more terrifying than spiders, snakes and rodents combined[28] while nearly two-thirds (64%) would prefer sharks not to exist.

The survey into public perception of the apex predator highlighted the need for educational efforts to highlight the importance of sharks at a time when humans kill 73 million sharks a year. Of the three sharks easily named by the public - great white (89%), hammerhead (80%) and tiger (67%) - each have seen populations plummet by as much as 90% in some parts of the world in the past 50 years[29].



  1. ^ "Steve Backshall becomes Bite-Back patron". Bite-Back. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  2. ^ "Team Bite-Back". Bite-Back. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  3. ^ "Shark and Marine Conservation". Bite-Back. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
  4. ^ "Issue 17 Eco Chat with BiteBack from the Archives of the Tanked Up Magazine". Retrieved 2013-12-01.
  5. ^ "We'Re Wild About The Marine Environment". Bite-Back. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
  6. ^ Earth (2009-06-09). "Elle McPherson joins celebrities fighting for the world's endangered fish". Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
  7. ^ "Shark Cartilage Capsules at Holland & Barrett". Vision Dive.
  8. ^ "Restaurant chain bans fish dish to help save sharks". Manchester Evening News. 2007-02-15. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
  9. ^ Clover, Charles (2004-11-09). "Asda ends shark sales". Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
  10. ^ "Mary Berry pulls shark recipe from cookery book". Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
  11. ^ "Mary Berry's shark recipe attacked on Twitter | Mail Online". 2013-01-14. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
  12. ^ Taylor, Jerome (2008-09-03). "Hakkasan drops its famed £40 shark fin soup over ethics - News - Food & Drink". The Independent. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
  13. ^ Paskin, Becky. "Hakkasan removes 'unethical' shark-fin soup from menu". Retrieved 2013-12-01.
  14. ^ Williamson, Harriet (2018-07-14). "Why are restaurants in the UK still serving shark fin soup?". Metro. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  15. ^ Nelson, Kate (2014-02-02). "Shark fin soup protestors to rally at London Chinese New Year celebrations". London 24. Archived from the original on 2015-07-11.
  16. ^ Quine, Oscar (2015-01-27). "Pot of gold: tasting the world's most expensive tea". The Independent.
  17. ^ Quine, Oscar (2015-04-19). "Illegal shark fins discovered at exclusive London Chinese restaurant". The Independent.
  18. ^ Pleasance, Chris (2015-04-21). "Shark fin soup on the menu in dozens of UK Chinese restaurants". Daily Mail.
  19. ^ Coles, Sarah (2015-04-21). "Shark fin soup on sale in the UK - exploiting loophole". AOL Money.
  20. ^
  21. ^ Webster, Ben. "Stop demonising poor sharks, pleads widow of Jaws author Peter Benchley". The Times. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  22. ^ Lea, Martin. "Describing sharks as 'monsters' and 'killers' is hampering conservation efforts". Dorset Echo. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  23. ^ Dockerill, Lorna. "TV Presenters Back Shark Charity's Call for Responsible Journalism". Scuba Diver Magazine. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ Avg.Score (2012-10-30). "Bite-Back 'fin' by Ogilvy & Mather London | View ad creative on Campaign". Retrieved 2013-12-01.
  31. ^ "Ogilvy & Mather Advertising » Blog Archive » Ogilvy's Haunting Film for Bite-Back Exposes Gory Truth about Shark Fishing". 2012-11-19. Archived from the original on 2013-12-02. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
  32. ^ "Shark finning film too graphic for TV". Divernet. 2012-10-30. Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
  33. ^ ""Fin" - Campaign Film from Bite-Back Shark and Marine Conservation · Causes". Retrieved 2013-12-01.
  34. ^ "Gordon fronts Bite-Back 'Soup-er' stars". Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
  35. ^ "2018 calendar captures beauty beneath the waves". 2017-11-24.

External links[edit]