VICTORIA, B.C. - Sonia Furstenau, B.C. Green Party Deputy Leader and spokesperson for the environment, introduced her first Private Member’s Bill today. The Bill, introduced on the 10 year anniversary of the film Sharkwater, would restrict the possession and distribution of shark fins within B.C., thereby impacting the demand for shark fins.
“Out of respect for our planet and for future generations, we must recognize our role in ensuring resilient ecosystems,” said Furstenau.
“Sharks are critical to the health of ocean ecosystems and marine biodiversity. As a species that is slow to mature and that has relatively low rates of reproduction, their decline creates a ripple effect throughout our oceans.
“An estimated 73 million sharks die every year due to shark finning. Canada imported over 140,000 kg of shark fins in 2016 alone. This bill would restrict possession and distribution of shark fins within British Columbia so that our province is not part of driving the global demand of this harmful and inhumane industry.”
There have been previous attempts to remove Canada’s role in driving demand for shark fin, including a bill introduced by NDP MP Finn Donnelly in 2013 to ban imports at the federal level, which was narrowly defeated by just five votes. In 2012, the Union of B.C. Municipalities passed a resolution calling on the provincial government to ban the sale, trade and distribution of shark fins. Seventeen Canadian municipalities have already enacted their own bans.
The Fish and Seafood Act, introduced in 2015 to replace and modernize previous legislation, provides an opportunity to protect sharks under Section 6. Furstenau’s Fish and Seafood Amendment Act builds on the extensive work of her colleague MLA Andrew Weaver, Leader of the B.C. Green Party, to move this issue forward.