Shark fin ban proposed for Toronto
Coun. Glenn De Baeremaeker is proposing a ban on shark fin in Toronto and will introduce a council motion next week that calls for a bylaw banning the sale and possession of the fins.
Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam, who supported the motion, said: "In order to do the right thing, even though it may make me an unpopular person in the Chinese community for a little while, I think it's the direction that we should be going in," she said.
"And I think that we should also be sending a message to our suppliers in the grocery stores and also a message to the restaurateurs that, you know, we will support you and will support ethical fishing."
Soup made from shark fin is an important food item in traditional Chinese culture and is a fixture at wedding banquets and other significant events.
Wong-Tam said she used to eat the fins, but her family decided to stop consuming them 10 years ago after they decided that shark fishing was unsustainable.
De Baeremaeker's proposal comes about one month after Brantford, Ont., became the first Canadian city to ban shark fin.
Marine conservation group Oceana estimates up to 73 million sharks are killed each year, primarily for their fins. As a result, some populations have plummeted by as much as 83 per cent, the group says.
Some conservationists say fishermen hack off the fins and throw sharks' still-living bodies back into the water.
Sharks are particularly vulnerable to overexploitation because they generally grow slowly and live long lives. Their relatively low reproductive rates mean their populations are slow to recover once overfished.