Environment

Canadian government announces ban on shark fin trade

Canadian government announces ...
The announcement was made on June 20th in Toronto
The announcement was made on June 20th in Toronto
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Fresh shark fins drying on a sidewalk in Hong Kong
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Fresh shark fins drying on a sidewalk in Hong Kong
The announcement was made on June 20th in Toronto
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The announcement was made on June 20th in Toronto

Less than two weeks after it proclaimed a ban on single-use plastic items, Canada has now taken another step toward protecting the environment, by banning the import and export of shark fins. It is the first of the G20 group of industrialized and developing nations to do so.

As one of the ocean's top predators, sharks play a key role in maintaining the marine ecological balance. Unfortunately, though, there's a huge market for their fins, which are used in shark fin soup and traditional Chinese medicine.

In order to meet that demand, crews on commercial fishing vessels will capture sharks, cut off their fins, then throw the often still-alive animals back into the sea. There, the finless sharks sink to the seabed, where they die of suffocation or predation. By only keeping the fins, crews are able to maximize the number of sharks they harvest, as they don't have to transport the bulky bodies back to port.

Fresh shark fins drying on a sidewalk in Hong Kong
Fresh shark fins drying on a sidewalk in Hong Kong

It is estimated that anywhere from 75 to 100 million sharks are killed worldwide for their fins every year, outstripping the rate at which they're able to reproduce. As a result, numerous species are now threatened with extinction.

Since 1994, it has been illegal for Canadian fish harvesters to engage in shark-finning. This Thursday at a presentation in Toronto, however, the federal government announced that it is now also banning the import and export of shark fins not attached to a shark's body. The bill was passed on June 18th, and is presently awaiting Royal Assent.

The announcement was made by the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, who is the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. Also present were representatives from the Humane Society International and non-profit group Oceana Canada, along with the family of Canadian film-maker Rob Stewart – the latter brought international attention to the practise of shark-finning with his 2006 documentary Sharkwater, but he sadly died in a scuba diving mishap while shooting a sequel in Florida.

"Shark finning is an unquestionably destructive practice, which is contributing to the global decline of sharks and posing an ongoing threat to ocean ecosystems," said Wilkinson. "The new actions announced today are a clear example of Canadian leadership on the conservation of our ocean environment."

Source: Government of Canada

5 comments
Username
So much stupid behavior is driven by humans' beliefs in magic. Or is belief in magic the result of basic human stupidity? Such is the circle of nonsense
fb36
IMHO, all countries should/must do the same!!! Congrats to Canadian Government!!!
Brian M
"contributing to the global decline of sharks and posing an ongoing threat to ocean ecosystems" The first is probably true, not so sure about the second, there would be a change to the ocean ecosystem, but not necessarily a disastrous one, nature abhors a vacuum so the top predators / scavengers would soon be replaced by other species or a new predator/prey balance achieved - might even be a better CO2 sink!
EZ
"CO2 sink?" It's not stupidity but gullibility that's the issue. When CO2 is about 6% of atmospheric gas and methane is 30 something, who are the real idiots? Do some research and you'll discover that the real people behind the CO2 scam are the same people that created the mess in the first place. The people that have majority interests in the preferred stock of giant corporations. The greed mongers of the world. They are doing a fine job of hood-winking the world population and keeping corporate wages down. We need to quit falling for their BS.
ljaques
Poachers should be treated the way they treat their prey. The recidivism rate would be quite low, I believe. Considerably lower than current rates.