Fin probe findings strengthen need for ban: MP
CTV British Columbia
Published Wednesday, December 5, 2012 9:01PM PST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 5, 2012 9:02PM PST
A CTV News investigation that revealed threatened and endangered shark species are being sold in Vancouver reinforces the need for a national ban on fins, a New Democrat MP said Wednesday.
New Westminster representative Fin Donnelly said the exclusive probe confirmed what he and other shark fin opponents have suspected all along.
“This survey shows that we absolutely need to protect sharks,” Donnelly said Wednesday in Ottawa.
“One-third of all sharks are threatened with extinction, so there’s a steep decline in shark populations, and Canada can become a world leader if it enacts legislation to ban the importation of shark fins.”
Donnelly has already proposed a private member’s bill on the subject, which is scheduled for a second reading in early 2013.
Fifty-nine dried shark fins were purchased at Vancouver shops earlier this year, some by a CTV News undercover reporter and others by the Animal Defense League, and sent to a lab at the University of Guelph for DNA testing.
Out of all the samples tested, 76 per cent matched sharks that are threatened or endangered under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s red list, including two hammerhead species.
Donnelly wasn’t the only one outraged by the results. Vancouver city councillor and finning opponent Kerry Jang called the findings “a bombshell” on Tuesday, then passed them on to his staff and colleagues in other municipalities.
“It gives great credibility to what we’re doing in Vancouver,” said Jang, who has been pushing for a regional ban with Richmond and Burnaby.
The sale of the fins is still legal in Canada, however, because the government only restricts trade on sharks listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Currently, only three shark species are listed: great white, basking and whale sharks.
David Chung of the B.C. Asian Restaurant and Café Owners’ Association defended the sale of the fins earlier this week as a traditional delicacy, and dismissed the expanded IUCN list of endangered species as the work of “certain scientists.”
“They can put as many endangered species… on their list,” Chung said. “What we are fighting for is the right to eat what we want.”
Chung said more and more customers have been ordering the controversial dish recently, possibly out of fear the soup will be outlawed.
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Mi-Jung Lee