After working closely with conservation group WildAid for the past 6 months, Canadian MP and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May announced legislation on Wednesday that, if fully implemented, will amend the Fish Inspection Act and Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act in the hopes of ending the shark fin trade Canada.
“Elizabeth May’s bill is another key step in the growing campaign to address the global shark fin trade,” said Rob Sinclair, Executive Director of WildAid Canada. “Her action could effectively lead to end of the shark fin trade in Canada, which would be the first federal shark fin ban in the western world.”
Should it pass, May’s bill will require shark products to include written documentation of the species and country of origin, as well as a label showing that mercury contamination may make the product unfit for human consumption.
Shark fin soup is a key reason why one-third of the world’s open-ocean shark species are now threatened with extinction. Fins from up to 73 million sharks are used every year to make shark fin soup and related food products.
While the practice of shark finning is prohibited by regulation in Canada and the U.S., current federal laws banning shark finning do not address the issue of the international shark fin trade. Therefore, fins are being sold to North America from countries with few or even no shark protection in place. Over four million Canadians now live in jurisdictions that have banned shark fin. The Canadian cities of Toronto, Mississauga, London, Oakville, Pickering, Newmarket and Brantford have all ended the practice. U.S. state bans have passed recently in California, Hawaii, Washington and Oregon and bans have been started in seven other states.