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October 5, 2012

Humane Society International/Canada Congratulates the Township of Langley for Ban on Shark Fin Trade

Humane Society International/Canada

  • Every day, more and more Canadian municipalities are joining the global movement to protect and preserve shark species. istockphoto

LANGLEY, British Columbia — Humane Society International/Canada applauds the decision by the Langley City Council to ban the possession, trade, sale and distribution of shark fin products. The ban comes on the heels of a Union of British Columbia Municipalities resolution passed on Sept. 28 calling for a provincial ban on the trade in shark fins and for the federal government to advance Bill C-380 to ban the importation of shark fins into Canada.

“The momentum toward a fin-free British Columbia and Canada is increasing,” said Gabriel Wildgen, campaigner for Humane Society International/Canada. “Every day, a growing number of Canadian municipalities and citizens are choosing to stand up against the cruelty and ecological irresponsibility of shark finning. The next step is a federal ban on shark fin trade, and we encourage all Canadians to reach out to their Members of Parliament and ask them to support Bill C-380.”

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

“Municipalities in British Columbia continue to show leadership on the issue of shark fins,” said Fin Donnelly, MP (New Westminster-Coquitlam and Port Moody). “The federal government must listen and take immediate action by adopting my legislation to ban the importation of shark fin to Canada.”

Shark fins are often taken 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 and painful death.

With Abbotsford, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, Nanaimo, North Vancouver and Port Moody, there are now seven municipalities in British Columbia that have passed a by-law banning the possession, trade, sale and distribution of shark fin products. On Sept. 18 Vancouver City Council passed a motion calling on their city staff to work with the neighbouring cities of Burnaby and Richmond to introduce a regionally coordinated ban on shark fin products. Such a ban would eliminate the largest remaining markets for shark fin products in Canada.

There are now 14 Canadian municipalities that have banned shark fin products. Outside of British Columbia, similar prohibitions have already passed in the cities of Brantford, London, Mississauga, Newmarket, Oakville, Pickering and Toronto, and others such as Calgary are in the process of implementing 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.
  • 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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