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March 20, 2013

Overwhelming Majority of Canadians Support a Federal Shark Fin Import Ban, Survey Finds

HSI/Canada renews calls for Parliament to support shark fin import ban

Humane Society International/Canada

  • MP Fin Donnelly (left), joined here by HSI's campaign manager Gabriel Wildgen, introduced Bill C-380 to ban the importation of shark fins to Canada. HSI

MONTREAL — Humane Society International/Canada is renewing calls for Members of Parliament to support Bill C-380 to ban the import of shark fins into Canada in response to a new Environics poll, which revealed 81 percent of Canadians support such a ban. Parliament is preparing to hold a vote on the Bill on March 27.

Gabriel Wildgen, campaigner for HSI/Canada stated, “Shark finning is horribly cruel and poses an urgent threat to our ocean ecosystems. It’s not surprising that most Canadians want our country to take a stand against shark finning rather than contribute to the industry. Members of Parliament must listen to their constituents and pass the shark fin import ban before it is too late.”

Member of Parliament Fin Donnelly, who introduced the Private Member’s Bill commented, “The global shark fin trade is responsible for killing millions of sharks each year. Canadians do not support the illegal trade of shark fins and want the federal government to take action by banning the importation of shark fins to Canada. I hope Parliamentarians will present their constituents’ views by voting in favour of my bill.”

Shark finning is the practice of cutting fins off of sharks and discarding the animals in the ocean. The finned sharks often die slowly from suffocation, bleeding, and predation from other species. Tens of millions of sharks are killed each year to feed the global demand for shark fin soup.

Many shark species are apex predators, meaning that they help to regulate all other species under them in the ocean food chains. As shark populations decline, the entire ocean ecosystem is thrown out of balance. Several shark species have plummeted by over 90 percent in recent decades.

In 2012, Canada imported more than 106,000 kg of shark fins. HSI/Canada is urging all Canadians to sign the petition in support of Bill C-380 and to write to their Members of Parliament asking them to vote in favour of the Bill.

Telephone surveys were conducted between Feb. 26 and Mar. 10, 2013 with a randomly selected sample of 2,006 Canadians. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points, at the 95 percent confidence level.

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 on March 27.
  • There are now 18 Canadian municipalities that have banned the sale of shark fin products: Abbotsford, Brantford, Coquitlam, Duncan, City of Langley, Township of Langley, London, Maple Ridge, Mississauga, Nanaimo, Newmarket, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Oakville, Pickering, Pitt Meadows, Port Moody, and White Rock.
  • In September 2012, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities passed a near-unanimous resolution calling on the federal government to ban the import of shark fins into Canada.
  • Sharks are apex predators whose survival affects all other marine species and entire ocean ecosystems.
  • Unlike other fish species, sharks produce very few young and mature slowly and, consequently, over exploited populations can take years or even decades to recover.
  • Several states in the U.S. and all three Pacific territories, Guam, American Samoa 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.

Click here to view Environics poll results.

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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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