Green Leader Elizabeth May called today for an end to shark finning at a press conference held in the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre, Sidney, BC. “I have been presented with a large collection of petition signatures from Canadians asking the federal government to take action against shark finning and I’m very pleased to take this forward to the House of Commons,” said May.
The petition, organized by local scuba divers in Victoria, BC, calls for a ban on the possession, trade, distribution or sale of shark fins in Canada. The group’s representative, Alisa Preston, explained, “Sharks are declining in numbers at an alarming rate, threatening the stability of the oceans’ecosystem. Every year, as many as seventy million sharks are caught, stripped of their fins and thrown back into the sea, often alive, to slowly sink and either drown or be eaten by other fish. It is a wholly unnecessary and solely profit driven slaughter.”
Shark fins are used mostly for a high priced soup, considered a delicacy though shark fins have no nutritional value and are essentially tasteless. Due to overfishing, 90% of the world’s large shark populations have already been wiped out. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reports that more than a quarter of shark species left are threatened with extinction and another 20% are ‘near threatened’ with the northeast Atlantic population particularly vulnerable.
Many countries have already banned shark finning. In the United States, the shark finning ban started with Bill Clinton and was strengthened this year by Barack Obama with the Shark Conservation Act.
There is still time to sign the petition, available at www.divepro.ca . Petition sheets can be mailed postage free to Elizabeth May’s office (Address: House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6).