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October 15, 2012

HSI/Canada Applauds the City of Calgary for Approving Shark Fin Ban in Principle

Humane Society International/Canada

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

MONTREAL — Humane Society International/Canada applauds the decision by the Calgary City Council to pass a bylaw to ban the possession, trade, sale and distribution of shark fin products through first reading, thereby approving it in principle. Council iterated their intent to pass the bylaw through second and third reading in January, after final consultation with the community on the details of the ban implementation. Once it does so, it will become the first municipality in Alberta, and the 15th in Canada, to ban shark fin products.

"It is undeniable that the momentum toward a federal ban on shark fin trade is growing. We have a responsibility in Canada to ensure we stop contributing to the cruel and ecologically devastating practice of shark finning, which results in the deaths of tens of millions of sharks each year," said Gabriel Wildgen, campaigner for Humane Society International/Canada. "Most source countries for shark fins have no or weak shark finning laws, making it impossible for Canada to verify the true origins and production methods of the shark fins we import."

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.

There are 14 Canadian municipalities that have banned trade in shark fins, including Abbotsford, Brantford, Coquitlam, Langley, London, Maple Ridge, Mississauga, Nanaimo, Newmarket, North Vancouver, Oakville, Pickering, Port Moody and Toronto.

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.

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

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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