Elizabeth May, seconded by the member for Richmond—Arthabaska, moved for leave to introduce Bill C-417, An Act to amend the Fish Inspection Act and the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act (importation and labelling of shark).
She said: Mr. Speaker, today is my first opportunity to present a private member’s bill in the House. This one is very complementary to other legislation in the House dealing with the ongoing and devastating practice of the finning of sharks for the purpose of one type of rare and prized dish accepted in Chinese culture. Shark fin soup is leading to the actual extinction of shark species around the planet. Over 70 million individual sharks a year are killed for this practice.
This bill attempts to help consumers through proper labelling. By focusing on labelling, I will be clear that the intent of the bill is to assist in the ending of the practice of trade and consumption of shark fins. In brief, the bill deals with the fact that as a high-end predator on the food chain, shark fins are contaminated with high levels of mercury. Currently, there is no warning of that in the consumption of sharks. It is also very important that the country of origin be labelled.
Through this labelling effort, the hope is that the practice will become more difficult and in fact come to an end.