Canada: No support from feds on shark fin banPublished by Torstar Network, 09. February 2012
When Mississauga postponed its shark fin ban in December, councillors hoped the federal government would step in and impose a sweeping ban. That seems unlikely now.
“It doesn’t look hopeful,” Ward 9 Councillor Pat Saito said after yesterday’s council meeting.
During the meeting she read from a letter sent by Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield, regarding a formal request by the City of Mississauga for a federal ban of shark fin products. The letter says: “At this time, the government of Canada is not considering a ban on the importation of shark products, including shark fins from non-endangered shark species…”
Saito said the City’s shark fin committee will still meet with federal officials in March, but Mississauga will probably now be responsible for a ban that’s set to go back into effect at the end of June.
Ward 2 Councillor Pat Mullin, who has championed the shark fin ban, was not at yesterday’s council meeting.
Shark fins are often used in soup and other forms of Asian cooking. Shark fin soup is considered a delicacy by some and is often served at special occasions such as weddings.
Shark finning refers to the removal of fins before dumping the sharks back into the water, often alive. The sharks die soon after.
A previous report to the City said it’s estimated that 70-100 million sharks are killed each year for fins. It’s been suggested that if the trend continues, most species will be lost in the next 10 years.
The Mississauga Chinese Business Association (MCBA) has been vocal in its opposition to the ban and organized a rally at Celebration Square in October in protest.
MCBA president Stephen Chu said his organization disputes whether the City has the authority to enforce the ban and suggested it should focus on banning shark fins that are illegally harvested.
“I believe they should further amend the bylaw to make it more reasonable and fair,” said Chu. “We’ve always agreed with environmental protection and have condemned illegal shark finning. We agree that the inhumane way of finning isn’t good.”
Chu said the bylaw was passed on an “emotional basis” without proper public consultation.
Note : Please see our previous post 14 Dec 2011 Mississauga delays shark fin ban