Thumbs up to the NDP: MP Fin Donnelly launches petition seeking Canadian ban on shark fin imports
Fin Donnelly (soon to be known as “Shark Fin” Donnelly I presume), the federal NDP’s fisheries and oceans critic and Member of Parliament for New Westminster-Coquitlam, has launched a petition seeking a ban on the importation of shark fins to Canada. “Shark populations are plummeting around the world,” Donnelly said in a news release. “An import ban would draw needed attention to this crisis and help protect them.”
This is an issue that Earthgauge has reported on in the past so it is great to see the NDP taking up the cause in Canada. In September of this year, California passed a ban on shark finning, following numerous other jurisdictions around the world. Could Canada be next to join the global movement to save sharks?
The Conservative government of Stephen Harper is not exactly known as an environmentally enlightened bunch, quite the opposite in fact. Still, this issue could actually have some traction. If there is anything that the Conservatives can be given credit for, it is their record on conservation initiatives. When there are no economic interests at stake, Harper sometimes seizes an opportunity to burnish his meager environmental credentials. Still, this will only happen if there is enough public awareness and demand for new legislation. The NDP petition is a good start. Next we will need a private member’s bill.
Here are some facts from the Huffington Post’s Francesca Koe explaining why shark finning is such a barbaric practice that must be outlawed:
Hammerhead sharks have declined by 89 percent since 1986. They are hunted for their fins, which are a delicacy in soups (for some). More than 1/3 of shark species are threatened with extinction as a result of the international shark fin trade, with some populations declined by 99%. Although 26-73 million sharks are killed every year, just for their fins, many states and nations around the world are taking bold action to stop the wasteful “finning” of sharks: Chile, one of the biggest fin exporters, recently banned shark finning in their waters, joining the Bahamas, Honduras, the Maldives and Palau. In the U.S., Hawaii passed a first-of-its-kind law banning the sale, possession, and distribution of shark fins in the state) last year, and similar measures have passed just this summer in Washington State and Oregon.
Sharks are the oceans’ apex predators, which play a critical role in the health of the ecosystems that support and feed people across the globe… A shark’s value is squandered when sharks are killed for short-term gain from the sale of their fins. By stopping the fin trade, we can help put an end to this type of destruction in international waters.
For more info on sharks, check out this great website of the organization Oceana, which works to protect the world’s oceans.