Shark fin ban mulled by Vancouver, other B.C. cities
Posted: Aug 15, 2012 7:19 AM PT
Last Updated: Aug 16, 2012 4:19 AM PT
The sale of shark fin may soon be banned in Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby as the three cities work together on a bylaw to have the Chinese delicacy removed from restaurant menus.
The move follows bans in several smaller communities and in Toronto, in response to a rapid drop in shark populations, believed to be caused by the high demand for expensive shark fin as a status symbol in Canada's Chinese community.
Commercial trade of shark fin has also proven controversial as fishing boats scour the oceans for sharks, slice off their fins and then toss them back into the ocean to die.
Vancouver City Coun. Kerry Jang says it's important the three cities put in a ban at the same time.
"We wanted to make sure that if we banned it in Vancouver, for example, then people just didn't go to Richmond, or if Richmond banned it, they would just come back to Vancouver,” Jang said.
Jang says city staff have already had informal discussions with Richmond and Burnaby. He will put forward a motion when council resumes on Sept. 18 to formalize previous discussions on a simultaneous ban.
But the Vancouver councillor admits that the Chinese community is split on a shark-fin ban.
“Some believe it's a tradition and should be allowed no matter what. As I say to them, foot-binding was a tradition in Chinese culture for a long time and my grandmother is sure glad that one ended."
Restaurants and caterers charge up to $100 per bowl for shark fin soup, making it a status symbol for those who can afford to consume it or feed it to their guests, particularly at weddings.
But animal activists warn that shark populations will not be able to recover if they continue to be killed at present rates.
David Chung, president of the B.C. Asian Restaurant and Cafe Association, strongly opposes a ban. He says there is no scientific data that shows shark fin soup is threatening endangered sharks.
"Endangered species are not the level of the municipal government,” Chung said.
“They should leave this to the federal government, which has ... scientific knowledge to back up their actions, instead of at this level where none of the councillors really knows too much about it."
Coun. Jang says if a ban is approved by all councils, it could take effect in about six months.With files from the CBC's Robert Zimmerman
Latest British Columbia News Headlines
- B.C. teacher duct-taped students' mouths
- The B.C. Teacher Regulation Branch has reprimanded a Vancouver teacher after she duct-taped her students' mouths in an effort to keep them quiet. more »
- Canadian border agents being impersonated in phone scam
- The Canada Border Services Agency is warning Canadians of a possible phone scam and fraud. more »
- Mask ban bill expected to become law today
- The bill that bans the wearing of masks or disguises during a riot or unlawful assembly is scheduled to become law today when it gets royal assent. more »
- Whitecaps aim to keep rolling at home
- The Vancouver Whitecaps will try to extend their home unbeaten streak to eight matches Wednesday night as Jose Luis Real makes his MLS coaching debut for visiting Chivas USA. more »
Top News Headlines
- Neil Macdonald: Washington's obsession with leakers
- Julian Assange and Edward Snowden are just the most prominent targets in an all-out legal and propaganda campaign that America's security apparatus is mounting against leakers everywhere, Neil Macdonald writes. more »
- Montreal scrambles to find new mayor, again
- As their city council searches for an interim mayor, Montrealers are still reeling from the corruption charges laid against a political leader who had pledged to clean up City Hall. more »
- Who's who in the Senate expense controversy
- Keeping track of the names popping up in the ongoing Senate expenses controversy — from the investigators to the four senators themselves — could be a difficult task for even the most seasoned political observers. more »
- How open is Ottawa's new 'open data' website?
- Treasury Board President Tony Clement is touting the federal government's revamped data portal as a "new natural resource." But that online window for previously published data arrives at the same time the government faces controversy over just how open it really is. more »
- Police probe death of woman, 27, in Kelowna home
- Hundreds attend 'Change Brazil' protest in Vancouver
- Parents of son 'brutally beaten' playing hockey want charges
- Failed condo pre-sale deal costs Vancouver buyer $750K
- Police probe Mohinder graffiti in East Vancouver
- Cross Canada bike stolen from B.C. senior
- Vancouver airport CEO takes aim at cross-border travellers
- The class photo that made a father cry
- Prison guard files murder trauma claim