Scuba divers have clocked up a jawesome 700km swimming to end finning as part of Project AWARE’s global Finathon. This weekend as the global fundraiser hits $60,000 for shark protection, PADI Vice President Jeremy Coleman will join 12 swimmers at Shelly Beach, Manly for a 1km ocean swim. Swimmers include the Project AWARE team Hannah, Debbie and Joanna and prizes have been donated by Scubapro.
"Over the last 3 months we've watched 154 Finathon Champions, 40 teams and 50 children under the age of 10 swimming to end finning and we're looking forward to finally jumping in the water to swim," said Joanna McNamara, Project AWARE.
The Shelly Beach event starts at 11am and includes a sausage sizzle fundraiser. 30 people are expected to attend including PADI Regional Managers from Asia Pacific who are in Sydney for a conference.
"It's inspiring to see so many scuba divers take action to protect sharks. What's more so many Finathon events have been organsied and championed by women who are juggling motherhood and careers as well as finding time for their passions - diving, swimming and sharks," adds Joanna.
Australians embraced the challenge with enthusiasm. At the world first 12 hour Finathon pool event 56 swimmers completed an amazing 115.7km thanks to mum of 3, Kirin Apps who championed sharks in northern New South Wales. “It was great to see people challenge themselves to swim further than they had ever swam before. Most of the children and adults got back in the pool to add another lap to the tally,” said Kirin who completed a marine science degree and has recently completed her honours, researching grey nurse sharks at Byron Bay and South West Rocks. ‘We are absolutely privileged to have these critically endangered species on our coast and we need to protect them,’ adds Kirin.
You can’t get more FINatical than swimming in fancy dress! Finathon Champion Martine Miller from Queensland organised a wacky races event during her maternity leave for Remote Area Dive and swam 1400 metres successfully in a shark suit bought online! “When I saw the Finathon I just had to get involved. As an avid diver and a new mum it's important to ensure the survival of theses remarkable animals for future generations,” said Martine who is heading to Fiji this month for her first shark dive at Beqa Adventure Divers, a 100% AWARE Partner.
Western Australia saw thirty two swimmers take to the water at South Beach, Fremantle and swim a collective 89km. Organiser Tania Douthwaite designed her own t-shirts to sell to help raise $2,320. “It was a gloomy stretch of challenging coast for our brave swimmers who entered the water through 1m thick seaweed. Sharks are an important link in our ocean food chains. Shark finning is ecologically destructive and wasteful. I am a strong supporter of Project AWARE’s efforts and very proud to be part of such a well organised global campaign,” said Tania.
Thanks to Finathon swimmers around the world, all donations help:
- Fight to stop finning
- Insist on full protections for Critically Endangered sharks
- Negotiate strong policies to ensure a brighter future for all sharks