The Calgary Zoo has come out in support of a proposal to ban the possession of shark fins in the city.

The idea comes from Ald. Brian Pincott.

He's asking city council to pass a bylaw prohibiting the possession, distribution and consumption of the main ingredient in shark fin soup, which is considered a delicacy in parts of Asia.

Axel Moehrenschlager, the head of the zoo’s Centre for Conservation Research, says thousands of sharks are killed every year just for their fins.

"Shark finning is not only unsustainable, but also cruel," said Moehrenschlager in a release. 

"When millions of sharks are caught each year, their fins are cut off, and they are thrown back into the water alive to die slowly. As an organization dedicated to both conservation and animal welfare, we urge the City of Calgary to show leadership in the protection of sharks, and hence the oceans we depend upon."

He said sharks, as top predators, help regulate the health of ocean ecosystems

"So we're concerned about it from two points of view," he said. "One is that one-third of shark species are threatened with extinction, and we need to take care of those, and secondly from a welfare perspective we need to take a step against such cruel activities."

While the zoo is wading into the shark fin debate, it is taking no position on the death of horses at the Stampede.

Moehrenschlager says the Zoo is concerned about wildlife not domestic animals.

City council is expected to debate the topic next week.