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January 28, 2013

Celebrating a Banner Year for Shark Protection

While reviewing last year's manifold victories, HSI/Canada remains focused on the road that lies ahead

Humane Society International/Canada

  • HSI/Canada is taking the message of shark conservation across the country. HSI

  • Member of Parliament Fin Donnelly introduced Bill C-380, which would prohibit the import of shark fins into Canada. HSI

  • Fin Donnelly, MP, joined HSI/Canada's Gabriel Wildgen at an event to promote the shark fin ban. HSI

  • Councillor Charlayne Thornton-Joe of the City of Victoria lent her support to the proposed ban. HSI

  • Councillor Andrea Reimer of the City of Vancouver has expressed her support to federal ban on shark fins. HSI

  • Kerry Jang, Councillor for the City of Vancouver, speaking in favor of the ban. HSI

  • Having already enacted a ban within his municipality, Mayor Bruce Banman of Abbotsford offered his support for Bill C-380. HSI

  • Mayor Gregor Robertson of Vancouver joined Member of Parliament Fin Donnelly and HSI/Canada's Gabriel Wildgen at an event to promote the federal ban on shark fins. HSI

  • Representing the City of Port Moody, the first British Columbian municipality to ban shark fins, Councillor Rick Glumac also spoke in favor of the ban. HSI

As many Canadians are now aware, the practice of shark finning involves cutting the fins off of live sharks, and then throwing the animals back into the water, leaving them to die a slow, painful death. This is done to a wide range of threatened shark species in every ocean, primarily to feed the demand for shark fin soup. Tens of millions of sharks are killed every year, and global shark populations have been plummeting towards extinction in recent decades. Our oceans need sharks as apex predators, and without them, entire marine ecosystems will be severely threatened.

Gaining momentum

That is why so many individuals, businesses, non-profit groups and governments around the world are now hastening to take action for sharks. For those of us who are passionate about shark protection in Canada, the past year brought much hope to our cause. At the beginning of 2012, there were only five municipal shark fin trade bans in Canada, but that number grew to 18 by the end of the year. Municipalities are playing an important role in the global movement to end the cruel and ecologically devastating practice caused by shark finning.

Even some of Canada’s largest cities are taking action, including Vancouver, and Calgary. Perhaps most importantly, due in part to lobbying efforts by HSI/Canada, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities, which represents more than 160 municipalities in BC, resoundingly passed a historic resolution calling for a provincial ban on the trade, sale and distribution of shark fins, and for the federal government to ban the importation of shark fins into the country.

Stop the import of shark fins to Canada

At HSI/Canada, our top priority for sharks in 2013 is to ensure that Member of Parliament Fin Donnelly’s Private Member’s Bill (C-380) to ban the import of shark fins into Canada is passed into law. We have already begun rallying support for the Bill, both on Parliament Hill, and in communities across the country. In June, Mr. Donnelly joined us in co-hosting a film screening of Sharkwater at the Mayfair theatre in Ottawa, and in November we had a private screening of the film in the Centre Block of Parliament Hill for Members of Parliament. Several of the Members in attendance voiced their support for the Bill.

An emerging force

As Canada begins to emerge as a global leader in shark protection, many other countries and international bodies are also hastening to address the ecological crisis and extreme cruelty caused by the shark fin industry.

Of course, caring animal advocates have been and will continue to be essential to our success. Without our supporters’ generous donations and willingness to take action, our campaign would not be possible. We hope and trust that we will see similar levels of enthusiasm and support in 2013, which we expect will be even more of a milestone year for sharks.

Learn more about progress on this issue around the world.

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