Canada Becomes First G20 Nation To Ban Shark Fin Trade

Animal rights activists and environmentalists work hard to protect animals and constantly campaign to raise awareness for the cruel practices humans often subject them to.

Last year, the largest importer of shark fins outside Asia, Canada, decided to put an end on their import and export.

In June 2019, it became the first G20 country to ban their import and export, and the law called “The new Fisheries Act,” also involves directives to rebuild depleted fish populations.

The law could dramatically change the global shark trade. In 2018, more than 148,241 kg of shark fins were imported into Canada, which cost around $2.4 million.

They are most commonly added to a luxury soup which is considered as a delicacy in Asian cultures.

The Canadian government reported that in 2017, the healthy fish stocks were the lowest since 2011. They found that 35 percent of them were healthy, and 14 percent of them in the cautious zone, and 10 percent in critical condition.

Sen. Michael MacDonald said:

“This is just one step forward; it’s not the end, but it’s an important one and sends a signal to the world that this practice is wrong, has to be stopped, and Canada will not participate in the import of these fins anymore.”

Josh Laughren, executive director of Oceana Canada, a private conservation group that lobbied for the legislation, stated that the enforcement of the ban would determine the success or failure of the ban.

“We’re not the biggest player but we’re a player. The bill] is both meaningful in its own right in terms of the trade of shark fins but also hopefully leads the way for other countries to follow suit.

With all laws, how they’re implemented matters, but there’s no question this has the potential to be transformative for how we manage Canada’s oceans.”

Oceana’s campaign generated over 300,000 petition signatures and thousands of emails and phone calls to members of Parliament, urging them to protect the sharks.

The industry has been mainly supported by the heavy imports through Canada, even though shark fishing has actually been illegal throughout the region since 1994.

Before this law, 19 Canadian municipalities have already banned shark fins. Similar laws exist in the European Union as well, while in much of the U.S. shark fins are legal.

Animal rights activists explain that the barbaric practice seriously threatens the population of sharks. It is estimated that every year, around 100 million sharks are killed. Their fins are removed while they are still alive, and the animal is then thrown back into the water to suffer until it dies.

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, who is the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, said:

 “Shark finning is an unquestionably destructive practice, which is contributing to the global decline of sharks and posing an ongoing threat to ocean ecosystems.

The new actions announced are a clear example of Canadian leadership on the conservation of our ocean environment.”