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May 22, 2012

Port Moody Becomes First British Columbian Municipality to Pass Ban on Shark Fin Trade

Animal protection groups applaud historic decision

Humane Society International/Canada

  • The growing demand for fins to prepare soup has sent shark populations into a worldwide decline. Iris Ho/HSI

PORT MOODY, British Columbia —Humane Society International/Canada, WildAid and other leading animal protection groups applaud the recent decision by the Port Moody, British Columbia City Council to ban the trade, sale and distribution of shark fin products in the municipality. Port Moody is the first municipality in British Columbia to adopt such a prohibition. Similar prohibitions have already been passed in the cities of Toronto, Brantford, Mississauga, Oakville, Newmarket, Pickering and London in Ontario.

“The City of Port Moody has shown tremendous leadership in taking a stand against the cruel and wasteful practice of shark finning,” said Gabriel Wildgen, campaigner for Humane Society International/Canada.  “Every year tens of millions of sharks are finned and tossed in the ocean, dead or dying, to feed the global demand for shark fins each year.”

“We’re thrilled to see British Columbia’s first municipality join four million other Canadians and dozens of jurisdictions around the world in acting to end this unsustainable practice” said Rob Sinclair, executive director of WildAid Canada. He added, “I have no doubt that other municipalities in British Columbia will follow suit.”

Canadians: Download our petitions [English French] in support of a ban.

“We are seeing a growing number of consumers – including wedding couples—that are going Fin Free. Businesses will begin to realize that taking a stance for conservation will give them a competitive advantage—one that’s good for their social and financial bottom line,” said Claudia Li, executive director of Shark Truth.

The ban passed by unanimous vote. The new bylaw includes a fine of $500 and potential revoking of business licenses for violations of the ban.  

Shark fin products are primarily served in a soup broth at Chinese banquets, such as weddings. The demand for this dish, coupled with unsustainable fishing methods have led some shark populations to decline by as much as 99 percent in recent decades.

Facts:

  • Sharks are apex predators whose survival affects all other marine species and entire ocean ecosystems.
  • The fins from as many as 73 million sharks are used to feed the growing demand for shark fin products each year. The profitable market of shark fins is also threatening many species of sharks and rays with extinction .
  • Shark fins are often harvested through a practice known as "shark finning," which involves cutting off the fins of sharks and then throwing the sharks back into the ocean, often while still alive, leaving the animals to die a slow death.
  • Unlike other fish species, sharks produce very few young and mature slowly and, consequently, overexploited populations can take years or even decades to recover.
  • In the United States, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington—and the territories of Guam and Northern Mariana Islands have banned the possession, sale, trade, and distribution of shark fins.

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Media Contact: Dean Pogas, HSI/Canada: 514-261-6007/514-395-2914; dpogas@hsi.org

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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