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December 11, 2012

HSI/Canada Celebrates New Westminster Shark Fin Ban

Humane Society International/Canada

  • Shark fins and shark fin products are often the result of "finning", a cruel and ecologically devastating practice that threatens worldwide shark populations. Iris Ho/HSI

NEW WESTMINSTER, British Columbia — Humane Society International/Canada is celebrating another victory for sharks after the New Westminster City Council unanimously passed a ban on the trade, sale and distribution of shark fins. The ban comes days after a CTV investigative report revealed that 76 percent of samples of shark fins sold in Metro Vancouver originated from threatened species.

“More than a dozen municipalities in Canada, including the City of New Westminster, have sent a clear message this year that they do not want to contribute to the cruel and ecologically devastating practice of shark finning,” said Gabriel Wildgen, campaigner for HSI/Canada. “In light of the CTV investigative report, it is undeniable that a federal ban on the trade in shark fins in Canada is needed. We urge Members of Parliament to help protect our oceans for future generations by voting in favour of Bill C-380 this winter.”

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

There are now 13 municipalities that have passed shark fin bans in 2012 alone, bringing the total number of Canadian municipalities with prohibitions on shark fins up to 17: Abbotsford, Brantford, Coquitlam, Duncan, City of Langley, Township of Langley, London, Maple Ridge, Mississauga, Nanaimo, Newmarket, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Oakville, Pickering, Port Moody 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 vote in favour of 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 early 2013.
  • Sharks are apex predators whose survival affects all other marine species and entire ocean ecosystems.
  • As of September, Canada had imported more than 77,000 kilograms of shark fins in 2012 alone.
  • 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.
  • 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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