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November 1, 2012

HSI/Canada Applauds the City of White Rock’s Unanimous Decision to Ban Shark Fins

Vote signals growing support for shark conservation

Humane Society International/Canada

  • Shark finning is cruel and destructive. © Veer

WHITE ROCK, British Columbia — HSI/Canada commends the White Rock City Council on its unanimous decision to ban the possession, sale and distribution of shark fins. The motion, introduced by Mayor Wayne Baldwin, echoed the recent Union of British Colombia Municipalities resolution calling on the provincial and federal governments to implement shark fin bans.

“It’s heartening to see so many municipalities standing up against the terribly inhumane and ecologically damaging practice of shark finning and taking concrete actions to end the unsustainable global shark fin trade,” said Gabriel Wildgen, campaigner for Humane Society International/Canada. “It’s clear that the urgent threat to shark populations has resonated with individuals and governments across the country. We are encouraging all Canadians to reach out to their members of parliament to request their support for a federal ban on the import of shark fins into Canada.”

Shark finning is a practice that involves cutting the fins off sharks and throwing the animals back into the ocean to die a slow and painful death. Tens of millions of sharks are killed each year to feed the global demand for shark fin soup.

There are 16 Canadian municipalities that have banned the sale of shark fin products: Abbotsford, Brantford, Coquitlam, Langley, Township of Langley, London, Maple Ridge, Mississauga, Nanaimo, Newmarket, North Vancouver, Oakville, Pickering, Port Moody, Toronto and White Rock.

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 this winter.

Facts:

  • In November 2011, Fin Donnelly, MP, 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 the coming months.
  • Sharks are apex predators whose survival affects all other marine species and entire ocean ecosystems.
  • 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 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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