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September 25, 2012

HSI/Canada, MP Fin Donnelly and Municipal Representatives Call for Federal Ban on Shark Fin Trade

Humane Society International/Canada

  • A federal ban on the trade of shark fin products would represent a major victory in the fight to preserve endangered shark species. © Veer

VICTORIA, British Columbia — Humane Society International/Canada held a press conference with Fin Donnelly, Member of Parliament, and a coalition of municipal representatives, to promote C-380, a federal bill to ban the import of shark fins into Canada.

"More than a dozen Canadian municipalities have taken action to prohibit the sale of shark fins, and it is clear Canadians want to see the trade in shark fins ended nationally," said Gabriel Wildgen, campaigner for HSI/Canada. "Humane Society International/Canada urges all Canadians to contact their Members of Parliament in support of bill C-380 to ban the import of shark fins into this country."

"Cities across Canada are taking action to protect sharks; it's time the federal government does the same," said Fin Donnelly, Member of Parliament (New Westminster-Coquitlam and Port Moody). "The loss of sharks is a global conservation crisis requiring national attention; Canada must do what it can to fight against the international trade of shark fins which is driving the illegal and harmful practice of shark finning."

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

HSI/Canada and Donnelly were joined at the press conference by Vancouver Councillor Kerry Jang, Port Moody Councillor Rick Glumac, Victoria Councillor Charlayne Thornton-Joe, Abbotsford Councillor Dr. Bruce Banman, and Fin Free Victoria along with special student guests from Glenlyon Norfolk School and St. Margaret School.

"Overfishing is the real problem. We must reduce demand and bans are the only effective tool we have given the lack of any federal regulations," said Vancouver Councillor Kerry Jang. "Banning shark fin is not an issue of culture, but an ethical one that affects everyone, no matter who you are, where you come from, or what culture you belong to."

Facts:

  • In November 2011, Fin Donnelly, MP, introduced Private Member’s 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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