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September 28, 2012

HSI/Canada Congratulates Union of British Columbia Municipalities for Passing Historic Resolution Calling for Provincial and Federal Shark Fin Bans

Humane Society International/Canada

  • The Union of British Columbia Municipalities´resolution brings a regional ban on shark fin products one step closer to reality. Dean Grubbs

VICTORIA, British Columbia — Humane Society International/Canada congratulates the Union of British Columbia Municipalities for passing a historic resolution calling for the provincial government to ban the sale, trade and distribution of shark fins, and for the federal government to advance bill C-380 to ban the import of shark fins into Canada.

Shark finning is a terribly cruel and ecologically devastating practice, which results in the deaths of tens of millions of sharks each year.” said Gabriel Wildgen, campaigner for HSI/Canada. “We are thrilled to see the UBCM, which represents more than 160 municipalities across British Columbia, make the historic decision to pass this resolution, taking us one step closer to making Canada shark fin free. We urge all Canadians to stand together for sharks by asking their legislators at all levels of government to support bans on shark fin trade.”

“I am thrilled that the UBCM has resolved to take this step towards ending the shark fin trade in Canada,” said Craig Keating, North Vancouver City Councillor who helped introduce the resolution at UBCM convention. “Governments across Canada have a responsibility to ensure our communities take action to prevent the ecological threat posed by the practice of shark finning.”

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

“Shark finning is cruel, wasteful and a threat to our ocean ecosystems,” said NDP Member of Parliament Fin Donnelly, who introduced bill C-380 to parliament, “That’s why I’m calling on all Canadians to follow the UBCM’s lead and contact their members of parliament to encourage them to support my private member’s bill to ban the importation of shark fins into Canada.”

There are 13 Canadian municipalities that have banned trade in shark fins, including the cities of Brantford, London, Mississauga, Newmarket, Oakville, Pickering and Toronto, as well as six municipalities in British Colombia: Abbotsford, Coquitlam, Nanaimo, Port Moody, North Vancouver, and Maple Ridge. Other municipalities, such as Calgary, are in the process of implementing similar bans. Recently the Vancouver City Council unanimously passed a motion to instruct its staff to work with the neighbouring municipalities of Richmond and Burnaby on a regional ban on the sale of shark fins.

HSI/Canada is urging all Canadians to sign the petition in support of federal bill C-380 to ban the import of shark fins into Canada and to write to their members of parliament asking them to advance the bill.

Facts:

  • In November 2011, NDP MP Fin Donnelly, introduced bill C-380, which would prohibit the import of shark fins into Canada. Members of Parliament will vote on whether to advance 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.
  • In 2009 alone, Canada imported 77,000 kilograms of shark fins.
  • Shark fins are often harvested through a practice known as "shark finning," which involves cutting the fins off 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 U.S. and the territories of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands have banned the possession, sale, trade and distribution of shark fins.
  • 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.

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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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