November 28, 2012
Parliament Hill Turns Its Attention to Shark Finning
HSI/Canada and Member of Parliament Fin Donnelly host a special screening of Sharkwater on Parliament Hill
Across the country and around the world, individuals, organizations, governments and corporations have been stepping forward in increasing numbers to take a stand against the brutality and ecological devastation of the shark finning industry. The message has been clear and consistent: Cutting off the fins from living sharks and throwing their bodies back into the water is terribly cruel, allowing tens of millions of sharks to be killed each year to feed the demand for shark fin soup is completely unsustainable, and urgent action is needed on all fronts to end this practice before shark populations are driven to the point of extinction.
On November 27, HSI/Canada and Member of Parliament Fin Donnelly took that message to Parliament Hill by co-hosting a screening of Sharkwater. The award-winning documentary by Canadian filmmaker Rob Stewart serves as a call to action in response to the threat that shark finning poses to all of our ocean ecosystems.
Many members of Parliament were in attendance for the film screening, and listened as Fin Donnelly, Ethical Chinese Consumer Alliance (ECCA) founder Joanna Hui, and HSI/Canada campaigner Gabriel Wildgen spoke about the importance of passing federal Bill C-380 to ban the import of shark fins into Canada. Many members of parliament have already voiced their support for the Bill, which will be voted on in early 2013. But more needs to be done to make sure every member of the House of Commons is aware of the urgent need to protect sharks and our oceans.
The momentum behind the campaign to make Canada shark-fin free is stronger than ever. In October, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities passed a near-unanimous resolution calling on the federal government to pass a shark fin import ban. This month, White Rock, BC became the 16th Canadian city to ban the sale, trade, and distribution of shark fins, and cities such as Vancouver and New Westminster are well on their way to passing similar bans. The City of Calgary also passed its own shark fin bylaw through first reading and announced its intention to finalize it in the coming months.
Even with all of that positive momentum, there is still much work to be done. As of September, Canada had already imported over 77,000 kilograms of shark fins in 2012 alone. But with the dedicated support of individual Canadians, elected political officials and non-profit organizations, we are optimistic that Canada will soon stand up as a leader on the global stage in the fight to protect sharks by passing Bill C-380 into law.