Animal rights activists are asking the City of Richmond to take shark fin soup off the menu, and some say that councillors’ decision on the matter could set the tone for other B.C. municipalities.

Anthony Marr of the Vancouver Animal Defense League will be appearing before council Monday to ask for an outright ban on serving shark fins in restaurants as well as the possession and trade of the animal parts. He told CTV News that fin harvesting is far too cruel to support.

“[It’s] something like aliens abducting you, cutting off all your four limbs and dumping you back on to the road,” Marr said.

Port Moody and Coquitlam already have shark fin bans in place, and Richmond city councillor Harold Steves hopes his city will follow suit.

“I think we have to take the shark by the fins, I guess, and set it free,” he said.

“I think the ban eventually will happen, because we simply can’t afford to be wiping out whole species on this planet for something to put in your soup.”

Steves believes that Richmond could lead the way on the issue, and help convince neighbouring cities to come on board.

In Vancouver, city councillor Kerry Jang agrees that Richmond’s support could be crucial for wiping out the shark fin trade in the Lower Mainland.

“The lynchpin to the shark fin ban across the region is Richmond. Richmond has 55-per-cent Chinese population; they have the largest consumption of shark fin that I know of,” he said.

Jang says Vancouver has adopted an educational approach instead of a bylaw, telling people shark fins aren’t fashionable to eat anymore. He’s in favour of a ban, but believes the only way to make it work is to apply it across the region.

“When you have a ban in one city and not another, people will cross the bridge or go to another city where there's a restaurant that serves it,” Jang said.

With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Maria Weisgarber