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Should shark fin soup be banned across Canada?

Categories: Canada, Community

Three cities in the B.C. lower mainland are working together on a bylaw that would ban the sale of shark fins and shark fin soup.

 Shark fin soup is served at a Chinese restaurant in San Francisco's Chinatown. (Paul Sakuma, File/AP)Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby are co-operating to bring bans in simultaneously so would-be customers would not be able to drive to neighbouring cities for a bowl of the traditional Chinese dish, often served at weddings.

Vancouver City Coun. Kerry Jang said the Chinese community is divided on the issue. "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," said Jang.

David Chung, owner of the Jade Seafood Restaurant and president of the B.C. Asian Restaurant and Cafe Association, says there is no scientific data to back claims that demand for shark fins is behind a rapid drop in shark populations.

"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," said Chung.

Toronto banned the sale of shark fins in October. The bylaw imposes fines for possession, sale, trade and distribution of shark fins or their derivative products.

In December, NDP fisheries and oceans critic Fin Donnelly introduced a private member's bill that would ban the import of shark fins to Canada.

Shark finning, which involves removing the fin from a living shark and then tossing its body back into the ocean to die, is already illegal in Canadian waters, but there is no law to prevent importation. Canada imports around 77,000 kilograms of fins each year - a relatively small amount compared to the rest of the world.

Should shark fin soup be banned across Canada? Let us know what you think.

(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)

Tags: Canada, environment, food & drink, law

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