Happy 2020, fellow shark enthusiasts! This week, we take a break from the facts, the news, and the puns (somewhat). I would like to highlight the incredible things that Shira Margulies has done as the founder of Respect the Fin. If you’re wondering more about the concept of Respect the Fin and how it has grown and metamorphosed over the years, this is the blog for you!
FIN-ally Time for Shark Conservation
Shira Margulies has had a love, passion, and true dedication to marine conservation throughout her life. The idea of Respect the Fin began as a social media account to increase awareness for sharks. This was a way for her to spread positive messaging about sharks and educate followers on threats that sharks face, such as finning. As the audience grew, Shira says, “I knew that I had to do something more. Being that I was still in college at the time, I had to find something that I could balance with my crazy school schedule. I decided to sell stickers online and donate a portion of the proceeds to my favorite shark non-profit, Sharks4Kids!” And VOILA! You have the beautiful creation of an all-encompassing marine wildlife platform for apparel, messaging, and conservation donation enterprise!
In 2019, Respect the Fin expanded its concept of shark conservation and cultivated awareness for all endangered marine animals. This included adding donations to the World Wildlife Fund. Apparel from Respect the Fin blossomed and sharks, whales, and turtle designs are now available. In 2020, you will continue to see Respect the Fin advocate for all marine creatures and as you support Respect the Fin, YOU continue to help donate to non-profits.
Wear It...More Like WHERE IS IT?!
Respect the Fin is more than a social media platform and online store, it’s an opportunity for humans to connect with wildlife! Respect the Fin is based out of Florida, where supporters have the opportunity to go on scuba diving trips! Shira says, “my absolute favorite way of creating a shark lover and spreading awareness is by SHARK DIVING! I love taking new people out on shark dives so that they can see these beautiful animals in person. When you look at these animals in their eyes, it is impossible to see a monster staring back at you. Sharks are absolutely breathtaking animals and we are so lucky to share the water with them.” I could not agree with Shira more, and I asked her what kinds of trips might be available in the future. She replied, “I would love to host more shark diving trips! Especially day trips where we can allow freedivers to join us as well. That way anyone and everyone can experience the beauty of these animals!”
In addition to dive trips, Respect the Fin also organizes beach cleanups! Beach cleanups are a great way to help all marine life stay healthy and free of debris! Shira also attended ocean-themed events, like Shark Con, and connected with likeminded individuals, aspiring ocean conservationists, and marine enthusiasts.
I started getting involved with Respect the Fin first as a loyal Instagram follower, then as an ambassador, and now as a blogger! Being an ambassador for any cause or platform that you are passionate about is a great way to spread your enthusiasm, create community, and inspire support. The Respect the Fin Ambassador Program had around 500 members! This program is currently on pause as the team brainstorms plans for a bigger and better program that can accommodate such an incredible, large community...so stay TUNA-ed!
Lessons from the Sharks, the fans, and the Shark Fans
If there’s one thing Shira can pass along to us, it’s the hard work and dedication she has shown to Respect the Fin. She urges people to, “Never give up on their dreams! As I am sure many entrepreneurs can relate, there are always new trials and tribulations that come with starting a business. The best thing I learned is that it is important to be passionate about what you are doing. When the going gets rocky, I lean on my passion for the ocean and sharks to push me through the tough times.” When asked about her favorite memory from 2019, Shira replied, “One of my other passions is traveling and experiencing new places and cultures! I was fortunate to experience part of the Greek islands this past summer and it was magical!” Exploring this planet and observing the creatures we share it with is a wonderful way to gain experience, knowledge, appreciation, and love.
As we grace 2020 with our hope, hard work, and constant love for shark conservation, remember to keep these amazing creatures in mind! This means always doing your part to help save them. If you’d like some simple ways to help sharks, keep these concepts in mind for 2020:
- Make more sustainable seafood choices
- Reduce your carbon footprint
- Reduce your plastic consumption
- Make informed decisions when buying beauty products!
- Look for products containing words like “squalene” or “squalane,” shark oil, shark cartilage which may be harmful.
- Always spread awareness, continue learning about sharks, support the ocean as a whole
- Participate in ethical shark eco-tourism experiences
- Donate to shark conservation research efforts
- Keep our oceans clean
- Support Respect the Fin!
Thanks for reading, and keep a lookout for the next blog!
Written By: Bailey Higa