SIDNEY -- Green Leader Elizabeth May called
today for an end to shark finning at a press conference held in the Shaw Ocean
Discovery Centre, Sidney, BC. “I
have been presented with a large collection of petition signatures from
Canadians asking the federal government to take action against shark finning
and I’m very pleased to take this forward to the House of Commons,” said May.
The petition, organized by local scuba
divers in Victoria, BC, calls for a ban on the possession, trade, distribution
or sale of shark fins in Canada.
The group’s representative, Alisa Preston, explained, “Sharks are
declining in numbers at an alarming rate, threatening the stability of the oceans’
ecosystem. Every year, as many as
seventy million sharks are caught, stripped of their fins and thrown back into
the sea, often alive, to slowly sink and either drown or be eaten by other
fish. It is a wholly unnecessary
and solely profit driven slaughter.”
Shark fins are used mostly for a high
priced soup, considered a delicacy though shark fins have no nutritional value
and are essentially tasteless. Due
to overfishing, 90% of the world’s large shark populations have already been
wiped out. The International Union
for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reports that more than a quarter of shark
species left are threatened with extinction and another 20% are ‘near
threatened’ with the northeast Atlantic population particularly vulnerable.
Many countries have already banned shark
finning. In the United States, the
shark finning ban started with Bill Clinton and was strengthened this year by
Barack Obama with the Shark Conservation Act.
There is still time to sign the petition,
available at www.divepro.ca . Petition sheets can be mailed postage
free to Elizabeth May’s office (Address: House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario K1A
Office of Elizabeth May, MP