The City of Vancouver may be joining a number of other municipalities in the region that have sharp fin product bans in place or in progress. The Developing a Regional Ban on Shark Fin Products motion on notice by Councillor Kerry Jang seeks to instruct staff to work with the Cities of Richmond and Burnaby to develop a common approach and report back to Council.
The actual text of the motion does not introduce a ban, at least not until further work is done by staff, and there are no time frames placed in the motion. Could a goal be to enforce a ban in Vancouver from the beginning of 2013 regardless of the outcome of communications with Burnaby and Richmond? Shark fin product bans are already in place or in progress in Port Moody, Abbotsford, North Vancouver, Coquitlam and Maple Ridge; other Canadian cities with similar bans include Toronto & Nanaimo.
During the 2011 Civic Elections there was strong support for a ban on Shark Fin sales in Vancouver (from candidates from the NPA, Vision Vancouver, the Green Party, COPE & NSV). It’s commendable that Vision Councillor Jang has taken the first step in introducing the motion with the goal of getting Burnaby and Richmond on board. Is it possible to strengthen the wording in the motion? The City of Vancouver has a lot of sway on business licenses and food service regulation and hence it should be straightforward to make and enforce a ban. Shark products passing through the ports on route to other destinations may be a more difficult topic for discussion, at least until a federal ban is put in place.
The sale and practice of shark finning has international repercussions. The state of Costa Rica is seeking the extradition of Paul Watson in his role in protesting shark fishing vessels. The Globe reports that Mr. Watson left Germany and is residing at sea while the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society works to clear his name.
Protests against establishments serving Shark Fin soup have taken place recently. Regular pickets of restaurant on Broadway by the Vancouver Animal Defense League (link here) are part of the message of the poster (pictured to the left).