Media Statement: November 20, 2014
Pushing for a Ban on Sale, Trade and Distribution of Shark Fins in British Columbia.
For immediate release
Victoria, B.C. – Today in question period the Minister of Agriculture committed to meeting with Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head and Deputy Leader of the B.C. Green Party, to discuss how the province of British Columbian could end the sale, trade and distribution of shark fins in British Columbia.
Shark finning typically involves cutting off a shark’s fins and throwing their still-live bodies back into the water. Finned sharks then suffer a slow, grueling death through starvation, drowning or gradual predation.
“Scientific research clearly demonstrates that shark finning is a major reason for the declining shark populations worldwide” says Andrew Weaver. “Many of these iconic species are now at risk of extinction.”
In 2012 CTV News reported that 76 percent of DNA-tested dried shark fins purchased in Vancouver fell on the threatened or endangered red list published by the United Nations International Union for Conservation of Nature. Those samples also indicated the presence of great hammerhead and porbeagle fins, both of which are now classified as endangered species by the UN Convention on International Trade, to which Canada is a party.
“This issue was brought to me by a group of young, engaged students who are deeply concerned about what’s going on,” said Weaver. “We now have an opportunity for the provincial government to take leadership and demonstrate to these of children that they are responsive to their concerns.”
Twelve municipalities in B.C. have banned shark fins in their jurisdictions while all restaurants in Victoria have taken shark fin soup off their menus. Many other restaurants throughout the province have taken similar steps, yet shark fins continue to be bought and sold around the province.
In conjunction with his question, Dr. Weaver tabled a legal opinion that states that British Columbia has the authority to ban the sale, trade and distribution of shark fins through constitutional provisions.
“This issue is often perceived to be something that only the federal government can act on in a serious way” said Andrew Weaver. “However, I received legal advice that there are concrete steps that can be taken by this government to end this practice. I am pleased to see the government shares my concerns and has agreed to meet to discuss how we can go about ending this practice.”
Mat Wright – Press Secretary, Andrew Weaver MLA
Cell: 1 250 216 3382