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September 12, 2012

HSI/Canada Congratulates City of North Vancouver for Ban on Shark Fin Trade

Humane Society International/Canada

  • North Vancouver is the latest Canadian city to join the growing movement against shark fin trade. Iris Ho/HSI

NORTH VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Humane Society International/Canada applauds the decision this week by the North Vancouver City Council to ban the possession, trade, sale and distribution of shark fin products in the municipality. Later this month, a resolution calling for a provincial ban on the trade in shark fins will be considered by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities, and this winter the Canadian parliament will be voting to advance a Private Member’s bill to ban the import of shark fins.


"We are thrilled to see the City of North Vancouver join the global movement to stop the trade in shark fins, which results in the deaths of tens of millions of sharks each year from the cruel and ecologically devastating practice of shark finning,” said Gabriel Wildgen, campaigner for Humane Society International/Canada.  “We urge municipalities across British Columbia to support a provincial ban on the trade in shark fins at the upcoming Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention, and all Canadians to support the Federal Private Member’s Bill to ban the import of shark fins into Canada.”

“We encourage other cities across British Columbia to pass similar prohibitions, and support the resolution calling for a provincial ban on the trade in shark fins at the upcoming Union of British Columbia Municipalities annual convention in Victoria,” said Darrell Mussatto, Mayor of the City of North Vancouver.

“We are delighted that the bylaw to ban shark fin trade products passed City Council,” said Craig Keating, the North Vancouver City Councillor who introduced the motion. “Municipalities throughout British Columbia and across Canada have a responsibility to make sure they do not contribute to the ecological threat posed by the practice of shark finning.”

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

North Vancouver is the third metro-Vancouver municipality to pass a by-law banning the possession, trade, sale and distribution of shark fin products. Vancouver City Council is considering a motion calling on city staff to work together to introduce a regionally coordinated ban on shark fin products in the cities of Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby. Such a ban would eliminate the largest remaining markets for shark fin products in Canada.

Similar prohibitions have already passed in the cities of Brantford, Coquitlam, London, Mississauga, Newmarket, Oakville, Pickering, Port Moody, Toronto, and others such as Calgary are in the process of implementing shark finning bans.  


Facts:

  • In November 2011, Fin Donnelly, Member of Parliament, introduced Private Member’s Bill C-380, which would prohibit the import of shark fins into 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.
  • 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 United States 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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