Mississauga delays shark fin ban

By Megan O’Toole, National Post,
14. December 2011

Mississauga is postponing its ban on shark-fin products until next summer, a move that puts the city more closely in line with neighbouring Toronto.

In October, capping off weeks of debate over the potential negative impacts on local Chinese business owners, Mississauga council passed a bylaw to immediately prohibit the sale of shark-fin soup and related products. But on Wednesday, that ban was amended to take effect June 30, 2012.

Councillor Pat Mullin, who has led the charge on the shark-fin file, denied suggestions that the initial bylaw was passed in haste.

“It was important for us to take a position… I don’t think we jumped the gun at all. Either you take the position or you don’t take the position,” Ms. Mullin said. “It’s a question now, how do we implement it in a respectful and responsible way?”

The delay in implementation will help to minimize the effects on business owners, who may need time to clear out old stock, Ms. Mullin noted. A shark-fin committee has also been struck to look at issues around enforcement.

Shark-fin products, considered a delicacy in Chinese culture, are controversial because the practice of collecting the animals’ fins is widely viewed as inhumane.

Shortly after Mississauga banned shark-fin products in October, Toronto followed suit, but the new rules in that city do not take effect until September 2012.

Mississauga had also called on Health Canada to enact a nationwide shark-fin ban, but in a letter attached to Wednesday’s council agenda [see below], Minister Leona Aglukkaq said that was outside her mandate. Instead, she promised to forward the city’s concerns on to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for consideration.

“We never seem to get a direct answer,” Ms. Mullin said in response. “It’s very frustrating.”

Source: The National Post, Posted Toronto.

Letter attached to Mississauga Council Additional Agenda – December 14, 2011


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