Tue, 06 Dec 2011
On Monday evening, Town Council voted in favour of a new by-law (By-law 2011-141) that will make the possession, sale, trade and distribution of shark fins and all derivative products illegal within Oakville effective December 5, 2011.
A ban on new supplies of shark fin and shark fin food products takes effect immediately, but existing supplies may be used. The by-law will only be enforceable with respect to commercial premises.
"We are committed to environmental sustainability. Since sharks are vital to our marine ecosystems, it's only logical that Oakville should take a stand," said Mayor Rob Burton. "It's all about thinking globally and acting locally. Sharks are being slaughtered at a devastating rate with many species facing extinction within the decade. Shark finning has serious long-term consequences and we need to do our part to stop it."
Council also resolved to request that Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency prohibit the importing of shark fin and shark fin food products into Canada to address concerns relating to shark finning.
Shark finning refers to the removal and retention of shark fins, with the shark, most often still alive, being tossed back into the water. With the removal of the fins, the shark is unable to swim and ultimately dies. Sharks are at the top of the food chain. When the shark population is dramatically reduced it leads to a cascading disruption throughout the marine ecosystem.
On July 5, 2011, Council had unanimously passed a resolution, introduced by Councillor Pam Damoff and seconded by Councillor Max Khan, directing staff to draft a by-law for its consideration. The resolution also requested that Environment Canada introduce regulations to ban importing of all shark fin and cartilage, and all derivative products to Canada, and for Halton Region to review the health risks associated with the consumption of shark fins and related food products and administer corresponding regulations.
Since May 2011, the cities of Brantford, Mississauga, Pickering and Toronto and have introduced shark fin by-laws. The cities of Hamilton and Brampton are in the process of reviewing the issue.
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