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October 26, 2011

HSI Canada Applauds City of Toronto for Landmark Ban on Shark Fin Trade

Humane Society International/Canada

  • Toronto bans the sale of shark fin products. cbpix/iStockphoto

TORONTO – Humane Society International/Canada applauds the historic decision by the Toronto City Council to ban the possession, sale, trade and distribution of shark fins and their byproducts within the Toronto City limits. The move comes on the heels of similar prohibitions that have recently been passed in the cities of Brantford, Mississauga and Oakville.

“The global trade in shark fins results in an unimaginable scale of suffering,” said Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of Humane Society International/Canada. “The fins from up to 73 million sharks are used to feed the demand for shark fin soup each year. Tens of millions of those sharks are finned and tossed into the ocean, dead or dying. The City of Toronto has shown tremendous leadership in helping to put an end to this cruel and wasteful practice.”

Introduced by Councilor Glenn De Baeremaeker and supported by John Parker and Kristyn Wong-Tam, the ban passed with a vote of 38 to 4. The new city by-law is eliminating a major market for shark fins in Canada, with the City of Toronto’s Standard and Licensing Committee recommending a fine of between $5,000 and $100,000 for violations of the ban.

Every year, tens of millions of sharks are killed solely for their fins, which are obtained through “finning,” a practice that involves slicing off the fins of a shark and discarding the animal at sea to drown, bleed to death, or be eaten alive by other sharks.

Shark fin soup is customarily served at Chinese weddings or banquets and in restaurants. The demand for shark fin soup coupled with unsustainable fishing methods have led some shark populations to decline by as much as 99 percent in recent decades.


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Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal protection, representing tens of thousands of members and constituents across the country. HSI Canada has active programs in companion animals, wildlife and habitat protection, marine mammal preservation and farm animal welfare. HSI Canada is proud to be a part of Humane Society International, one of the largest animal protection organizations in the world, with more than 11 million members and constituents globally. On the Web at hsicanada.ca.

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