The Finathon concept was born in 2011 from one scuba diver’s passion for sharks and has now swept the globe, raising critical funds for shark protection and inspiring a movement to end finning. The first Finathon™ took place in the town of Stoke on Trent, in the heart of England. An unlikely place to find a tribe of FINatical shark advocates. But more than 70 enthusiastic shark lovers turned up with PADI Course Director, Katy Bloor and Sub-Mission Dive Centre, put on their fins in protest against shark finning and swam 100 kilometers to raise funds for Project AWARE’s shark campaign.
Since then, Finathon™ events have spanned the globe as supporters from the USA, Australia, Canada, Thailand and Malaysia are rallying local swimmers. The Finathon hosted by Patriot Scuba, Virginia, USA, was a perfect example of this. When the shop’s manager, Caitlin Hale, heard about Project AWARE’s Finathon pilot, she wanted in. Patriot Scuba launched a month-long campaign, swimming and raising funds for sharks in November 2012.
“Having seen the effects of shark finning first hand in Thailand, it was really important to me to get involved and all of this has really shown me just how dedicated many of us are to this cause,” said Caitlin. “There is still so much more to be done, but if we band together like this, we can really make a difference. I’m just glad that all of us here at Patriot are part of the solution.”
On the other side of the world, passionate PADI Course Director Andy Wellsted, Australia gathered a bunch of Aussie mates together for the first Finathon™ down under. The same year Andy met Les Newman owner of Langley Dive, British Columbia, Canada at a Course Director Training Course (CDTC). Les said: “I loved the Finathon™ idea so I asked Andy how he felt about a little friendly north south rivalry and ran with it. I got the idea from him!"
Dive Downbelow in Sabah, soon jumped on board to host the first Finathon™ in Malaysia. “It’s a healthy, fun way to raise awareness and funding for a hugely important cause. We’re amazed at the support shown by all participants and cannot thank them enough for the effort they put in particularly with fundraising,” said Richard at Dive Downbelow.
Together, divers have a powerful, collective voice to protect Threatened sharks worldwide. The Finathon™ shows how one idea can become a catalyst for change. With the clock ticking for vanishing shark species the time to act is now.
You can raise funds to help Project AWARE:
Fight to stop finning
Insist on full protections for Critically Endangered sharks
Negotiate stronger policies to ensure a brighter future for all sharks