Canada: Councillors back shark fin ban

Brantford is making a big splash as the first community in Canada to ban the sale of shark fin soup and other products.

Preceded by a demonstration on the steps of city hall by more than a dozen activists and members of WildAid Canada, city council unanimously approved Tuesday night a resolution endorsed by a committee two weeks ago, along with an already prepared bylaw to ban the sale of products.

“This demonstrates leadership on a national and international scale,” said Coun. David Neumann who spearheaded the resolution.

He said that it is important for Brantford and other communities to work together to arrest the dramatic decline in the species caused by shark finning.
“Some species of sharks could be extinct, if present tends continue, within 15 years. It could throw the whole ecosystem into chaos.” Phil Gillies, of WildAid Canada

He also said sharks are an important component of the ocean’s ecosystem.
“The oceans are the lungs of the Earth like trees are the lungs of the Earth,” he said.

Ultimately, “this is a bylaw that will have an effect on the children of our planet,” said Neumann. “I hope the lead we’re taking will flow out to other cities.”

The purpose of the ban is to combat the practice of shark finning, in which fishers capture sharks at sea and haul them, often still alive, on deck. In seconds, the shark’s fins are sliced off and the remainder of the animal is thrown back into the water.

Although the practice is banned in Canada and the U.S., the sale of fins for inclusion in shark soup and other products is not.

Other councillors waded into the discussion to lend their support.

“To see the murder of these animals is so horrific,” said Coun. Dan McCreary.

He said that he is happy that council withstood the criticism and jokes that followed a move by a city in central Canada leading an environmental debate about sharks.

“All we’re saying is this is not right and we shouldn’t have it in this community,” said Mayor Chris Friel.

Former Brantford MPP Phil Gillies, a member of WildAid Canada, was instrumental in getting the resolution in front of council. In a later interview, he expressed his gratitude for the bylaw’s passage.

“The whole environmental community is very grateful for this,” he said.

“Some species of sharks could be extinct, if present tends continue, within 15 years. It could throw the whole ecosystem into chaos.”

Gillies said that WildAid has talked to other communities who say they’re interested, but reluctant to take the lead.

“Well, Brantford has taken the lead.”

By Michael-Allan Marion

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~ by FSVSF Admin on 25 May, 2011.

3 Responses to “Canada: Councillors back shark fin ban”

  1. We are capable of so much good and bad on this planet. We are toying with one the oldest known species that has kept the world in order. Without sharks we would not even be here. Every living creature needs them but they don’t need us. I have 2 young kids and I am scared for them and thier futures. I hope that we don’t do so much ireversible damage that I will never get to see my kids graduate, get married or have kids of thier own. There is a reason that sharks haven’t evolved for 400 million years, they haven’t had too, they are perfect. Sharks are natures architects and at the rate we are going, we won’t even be able to enjoy it.

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