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Burnaby to consider shark fin ban

Burnaby council is considering a ban on the sale of shark fins after a delegation called on the city to do just that.

Council asked staff to report back on the issue, particularly the city's jurisdiction and how enforceable such a ban would be.

Anthony Marr and the Vancouver Animal Defence League spoke to council recently  asking it to join Coquitlam, Port Moody and the City of North Vancouver in enacting a ban. Due to their high cost, Shark fin soup is a symbol of wealth and prosperity in the Chinese community, and is often served at wedding banquets.

But they are harvested cruelly, with the fins cut off and the rest of the shark thrown back into the ocean, while still alive. Reducing shark populations also mean the fish they eat will grow in numbers, creating a domino effect from an imbalance in the ecosystem.

Marr is aiming to have the Metro Vancouver cities with the largest Chinese populations, Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby, to ban the sale and serving of shark fins.

He noted that the Canadian Fisheries Act prohibits shark-finning in Canadian waters.

"If we do not allow shark-finning, why do we allow shark fins from elsewhere?"

He also said a one-bowl-at-a-time campaign of reducing consumption voluntarily will take decades to have any effect.

"The sharks just don't have the time."

Coun. Sav Dhaliwal said education will be key to reducing demand for shark fins.

wchow@burnabynewsleader.com

twitter.com/WandaChow

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