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June 20, 2012

HSI/Canada Applauds City of North Vancouver Resolution to Create Bylaw Banning Shark Fin Trade

Humane Society International/Canada

  • Finning is a major threat to shark populations worldwide. (c) Wolcott Henry 2005/Marine Photobank

NORTH VANCOUVER, British Columbia —Humane Society International/Canada applauds the City of North Vancouver, British Columbia, for passing a recent motion to draft a bylaw to ban the possession, trade, sale and distribution of shark fin products in the municipality. The motion, also calls for a provincial ban on the trade in shark fins and a federal ban on the import of shark fins into Canada.

“The City of North Vancouver has taken a crucial step forward in opposing the cruel and ecologically devastating practice of shark finning,” said Gabriel Wildgen, campaigner for Humane Society International/Canada.  “More and more cities across Canada are joining the global movement to stop the trade in shark fins, which results in the deaths of tens of millions of sharks each year.”

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

“The North Vancouver City Council acted within its legal right by passing a motion to draft a bylaw to ban shark fin trade products,” said Darrell Mussatto, Mayor for the City of North Vancouver. “We encourage other cities to follow suit and support the federal private member’s bill to ban the import of shark fins to Canada.”

“After carefully reviewing the ecological threat posed by the practice of shark fining, the North Vancouver City Council decided a municipal ban was an important early step in ensuring that shark fin products will be banned throughout the region and around the country,” said Craig Keating, the Councillor for the City of North Vancouver who introduced the motion.

In May 2012, Port Moody became the first BC municipality to prohibit shark fin trade, and Coquitlam is in the process of introducing similar legislation. Prohibitions on shark fin trade have already been passed in the cities of Toronto, Brantford, Mississauga, Oakville, Newmarket, Pickering and London in Ontario.

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:

  • In November 2011, Fin Donnelly, Member of Parliament, introduced Private Member’s Bill C-380, which would prohibit the import of shark fins to Canada. Members of Parliament will vote on the bill in either late 2012 or early 2013.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Several states in the United States and the territories of Guam and the 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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