Bill to End Trade of Shark Fins clears Senate by overwhelming majority

Humane Society International/Canada, marine scientists, and the family of the late Rob Stewart celebrate halfway mark in #SaveSharks Canada campaign

Humane Society International

OTTAWA – Canada has reached the halfway mark in prohibiting the trade of shark fins with a final, sweeping endorsement of Bill S-238, the Ban on Shark Fin Trade Act, by the Senate. The proposed legislation was amended in the Senate so that it prohibits not only the import of shark fins into Canada, but also prohibits their export. The bill will now move to the House of Commons.

The bill’s Senate sponsor, Sen. Michael L. MacDonald, stated: “I’m thrilled that the Ban on Shark Fin Importation and Exportation Act has been endorsed by my colleagues in the Senate. It is my sincerest hope that Members of Parliament will act swiftly on this urgent matter to ensure that Canada takes a leading role in protecting sharks globally. Sharks are vital to sustain ocean ecosystems and our planet’s survival.”

“Cutting the fins off sharks and tossing them into the ocean to die is an exceptionally cruel and ecologically reckless practice that puts entire ocean ecosystems at risk,” said Julie MacInnes, wildlife campaign manager for HSI/Canada. “We are grateful to Senator Michael MacDonald for his leadership in achieving today’s milestone for ocean conservation. This bill is an important step towards ending Canadian trade in shark fins and we ask the federal government to pass it as a matter of urgency.”

Marine scientist Dr. Dirk Steinke stated, “There is scientific consensus that sharks are among the most threatened wildlife worldwide.”

Dalhousie Professor Dr. Boris Worm added, “The shark fin trade is the main source of shark mortality in today’s ocean, especially for the larger species that are the most threatened. We are hopeful that Canada will take the necessary leadership in ending the shark fin trade.”

Brian and Sandy Stewart, parents of the late Rob Stewart, issued the following statement: “We urge the federal government and Members of Parliament to listen to the overwhelming majority of Canadians who support ending the trade of shark fins in Canada. Every single hour, over 11,000 sharks are killed in the gruesome international shark fin trade. The sharks – and the ocean ecosystems that depend on them – do not have another ten years to wait.”


  • HSI/Canada has campaigned to end the shark fin trade for more than a decade. Globally, HSI has been at the forefront of a powerful movement to protect sharks and stop the trade of their fins through education, outreach, and legislative efforts.
  • Every year, up to 100 million sharks are killed to satisfy global demand for their fins and their parts, threatening one-third of open ocean sharks with extinction
  • Canada is the largest importer of shark fins outside of Asia.
  • As an apex predator, sharks hold the oceans in balance and their extinction would have significant effects on all other marine species.
  • Sharks grow slowly, mature late, and have relatively low rates of reproduction, making their populations highly vulnerable to the impacts of overfishing.

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