At an event held ahead of World Oceans Day (June 8), along with Lush Cosmetics and the family of the late Canadian filmmaker and conservationist, Rob Stewart, Humane Society International/Canada is calling on the federal government to ban the import of products of shark finning.
Gabriel Wildgen, campaign manager for HSI/Canada, said: “Time is quickly running out for sharks around the globe, as overfishing and shark finning are driving these magnificent, ancient species into extinction. Shark finning, which is the act of cutting fins from sharks and throwing the animals back into the water to die slowly, continues to occur at an alarming rate, affecting tens of millions of sharks per year. Rob Stewart was an incredible champion and educator on this issue. We are honoured to stand with his family in carrying on his legacy by calling on the federal government to ban trade in the products of the cruel and ecologically devastating practice of shark finning. It is our hope that this World Oceans Day will be the last in which Canada allows products of shark finning to enter our borders.”
HSI/Canada also congratulates the Stewart family on their new foundation that will carry on Rob’s legacy by funding the completion of his film, Sharkwater 2: Extinction, and other work to protect sharks.
All members of the public are encouraged to call on the Canadian government to ban the import of products of shark finning by taking action at hsicanada.ca/savesharks.
- Shark finning is the practice of cutting off a shark’s fin and discarding animal at sea to die a slow and painful death. In 2016 alone, Canada imported over 140,000 kg of shark fins, an increase of over 34,000 kg per year since 2012. Sharks are apex predators whose survival affects all other marine species and entire ocean ecosystems.
- Environics polling conducted in 2013 revealed 81 percent of Canadians support a ban on the trade in products of shark finning.
- Seventeen Canadian municipalities 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.
- New legislation, the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2017, is being considered in the United States, and it recently passed through the US Senate, Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Several US states, including California, Hawaii, New York, Oregon, and Washington, already ban shark fins, and more state bans are currently being considered.
- Dozens of airlines, including Air Canada, prohibit shipments of shark fins on their flights.
- In 2013, the Chinese government has banned shark fins from all official state functions, and according to Chinese government reports, shark fin imports into the country were down 82 percent between 2012-2015.
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