NDP Bill to Prohibit Import of Shark Fins

OTTAWA – Legislation to prohibit the import of shark fins, often illegally caught using inhumane methods, was introduced today by Official Opposition Fisheries and Oceans Critic Fin Donnelly (New Westminster-Coquitlam).

“With millions of sharks being killed each year just for their fins, this international marine conservation crisis requires immediate action,” said Donnelly. “The often illegal targeting of sharks for their fins is causing a rapid decline in shark populations and hurting marine ecosystems around the world.”

It is estimated that up to 73 million sharks are killed annually for their fins, often by a practice called shark finning, where the fins are cut off the shark and the body is dumped back into the ocean to slowly die. “The Canadian government can take a leadership role on this issue and adopt legislation that will help protect sharks and promote strong international ocean stewardship,” said Donnelly. “This legislation would stop the import of illegal shark fins into Canada and make our country a leader in the movement to protect sharks.”

In 2009, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature revealed that over one-third of all shark species are threatened with extinction as a result of the inhumane practice of shark finning.

To prepare the legislation, Donnelly has been consulting with various organizations and stakeholders across the country consultations. His office commissioned Mustel to poll British Columbians, who found that around 84% of residents support a federal ban on shark fin imports. A petition Donnelly launched just a week ago has already been signed by over 3000 Canadians.