By a vote of 5-1, Newmarket, Ontario becomes the latest municipality in Canada to act on banning the sale and possession of shark fin. With Newmarket’s ban, now over four million Ontario residents - one-third of Ontario’s population - live in a jurisdiction where a shark fin ban has been formalized.
“The action by Newmarket is the latest positive step in the growing campaign to end this unsustainable trade,” said Rob Sinclair, Executive Director of WildAid Canada. “WildAid would like to thank Councillor Jane Twinney for her leadership on this important piece of legislation.”
At a recent WildAid press conference, WildAid Ambassador Sir Richard Branson publicly commended the City of Toronto for its shark fin ban, and called on further action from government at all levels, including provincial and federal.
Fins from up to 73 million sharks are used every year to make shark fin soup and related products. Shark finning is a cruel and wasteful practice – captured at sea and hauled on deck, the sharks are often still alive while their fins are sliced off. Driven by growing consumer demand for shark fin soup, a highly-valued delicacy in traditional Chinese culture, the shark fin trade is driving many shark populations into rapid decline, with now one-third of the world’s pelagic shark species threatened with extinction and some species experiencing declines up to 99%.
While the practice of shark finning is illegal in Canada and the U.S., current federal laws banning shark finning do not address the issue of the shark fin trade. Therefore, fins are being imported to North America from countries with few or even no shark protections in place.
Similar bans have recently been enacted in California, Hawaii, Oregon and the state of Washington and in the Ontario cities of Toronto, Mississauga and Brantford.