The cities of North Vancouver and Maple Ridge became the latest municipalities in B.C. to ban the sale, distribution and possession of shark fins Tuesday night.

North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto said selling shark fin soup in restaurants promotes the inhumane shark finning industry.

“They take the sharks out of the water, cut their fins off and then throw them alive back in the water,” Mussatto said.

Mussatto is calling on all B.C. cities to follow the lead of North Vancouver, Maple Ridge, Nanaimo and Port Moody, who have already banned shark fins.

“We’re urging all municipalities in B.C. to adopt similar bans and not allow shark fin soup to be served in restaurants,” he said.

City research showed there were no restaurants in North Vancouver that sold shark fin soup, so Mussatto does not expect the ban to have a negative economic effect.

“In our situation it’s more of a proactive approach,” he said. “We do have Chinese restaurants and we just want to reinforce the point.”

Maple Ridge city council voted unanimously to ban shark fins Tuesday night. City councillor Bob Masse predicts the final bylaw will be passed in the next couple weeks.

Animal rights activists have been pushing Metro Vancouver city councils to ban shark fins, saying the industry promotes cruelty and threatens endangered shark species around the world.

Non-profit group Humane Society International/Canada said the fins from as many as 73 million sharks are used to feed the growing demand for shark fin products each year.

The society is also pushing for provincial and federal shark fin bans.

"We urge municipalities across British Columbia to support a provincial ban on the trade in shark fins at the upcoming Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention, and all Canadians to support the Federal Private Member's Bill to ban the import of shark fins into Canada,” said spokesman Gabriel Wildgen.

The group said millions of sharks are dumped back into the world's oceans after their fins are cut off, leaving the top predators to die a slow and painful death.

Six cities in Ontario have shark fin bans, including Toronto and the states of Washington, California, Oregon, Illinois and Hawaii also ban shark fins.