Canada Must Act to Restrict Shark Fin Imports

OTTAWA – NDP Fisheries and Oceans deputy critic Fin Donnelly (New Westminster-Coquitlam) is optimistic ahead of the second reading vote on his private member’s bill to ban the importation of shark fins to Canada.

“100 million sharks are killed each year to support the wasteful, unsustainable and often illegal trade of their fins. This is having a devastating impact on shark populations and a negative impact on ocean ecosystems,” said Donnelly. “Canadians want Parliament to take immediate action. I’m hopeful MPs will vote to send my bill to committee.”

“Tens of thousands of Torontonians have signed petitions to support legislation to restrict the shark fin trade,” said Toronto City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam. “As a Chinese-Canadian, I can tell you that this is not a cultural concern, but rather an issue of conservation, animal cruelty and public health.”

"The City of Vancouver, along with all of the municipalities represented by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities, have called on the federal government to ban the importation of shark fins into Canada," said Vancouver City Councillor Kerry Jang. "I hope that all Members of Parliament listen to Canadians and vote with their conscience to protect sharks."

Gabriel Wildgen, campaigner for Humane Society International/Canada, said, “Shark finning is a cruel practice that poses an urgent threat to our ocean ecosystems. This Bill is a critical opportunity for Parliament to make Canada a global leader in shark and ocean protection. Members of Parliament need to understand that a vote against this bill is a vote against shark protection.”

A 2011 Mustel Group poll of 500 British Columbians found an overwhelming 83% are opposed to the import of shark fins to Canada. 77% of respondents of Chinese ancestry were also opposed to the import of shark fins.