Federal Bill to Prohibit Imports Introduced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 8, 2011

FEDERAL BILL TO PROTECT SHARK INTRODUCED

[Action Alert: Get involved! Help collect petition signatures.]

VANCOUVER – Today, NDP Fisheries and Oceans Critic Fin Donnelly, MP (New Westminster-Coquitlam and Port Moody) introduced legislation that would amend the Fish Inspection Act to prohibit the import of shark fin to Canada. The bill would also amend the Fisheries Act to put into law the prohibition of shark finning in Canadian waters.

“The shark fin trade is like the now-illegal trades in ivory and bear paws, where the demand for a single high-value animal part drives the unsustainable slaughter and waste of the entire animal,” said Claudia Li 李妍蕙, Shark Truth Founder.

Each year, up to 73 million sharks are killed primarily for their fins, threatening the stability of the world’s ocean ecosystems (IUCN, 2010). The high value of the fin and low value of the meat and other by-products are causing a rapid increase in “shark finning” where a shark is harvested just for its fin and the rest of the body wasted and thrown away. Fins are the most valuable part of a shark and can fetch up to $650 per kilogram (a single Whale Shark dorsal fin can sell for up to $50,000). In comparison, shark meat has a relatively low commercial value often due to the high urea content, netting only $0.85 per kilogram.

In just a few decades, some shark populations like the Basking Shark have declined by 90% and scientists predict that in the next 10 to 20 years, up to 20 species of sharks could become extinct.

“When my parents and grandparents immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong, they worked hard to give us a good life. Now it is our turn to carry on the legacy and make sure that our future generations have sharks in our seas for a healthy planet and a healthy future,” said Ms. Li. “Shark Truth was founded based on the philosophy that we need a bottom-up and a top-down approach. While education and awareness are the foundation for change, shark finning is an international environmental crisis and requires urgent legislative action.”

A Mustel poll conducted earlier in the fall showed that almost 84% of British Columbian residents support a federal import ban. A report produced by BLOOM Association in Hong Kong found that 80% of wedding couples found it acceptable to go Fin Free.

Through Shark Truth’s Happy Hearts Love Sharks wedding contest, 10,000 wedding banquet guests went Fin Free in the past two years. This year’s winning couple Judy & Jason will be leaving next week to claim their grand prize trip to Hawaii where the will be swimming with sharks for the first time. This past October, Shark Truth held the Sans Fin Soup Contest (無翅良品, 中式湯羹烹飪比賽) for chefs to create unique soup alternatives using ingredients like shark fin melon and local dungeness crab.

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Contact: 

Claudia Li 李妍蕙, Shark Truth Founder
604-723-0314 or claudia{at}sharktruth[dot]com