Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Andrew Weaver is taking the fight to ban the sale, trade and distribution of shark fins in B.C. to the provincial legislature.
“Scientific research clearly demonstrates that shark finning is a major reason for the declining shark populations worldwide” said Weaver, the deputy leader of the B.C. Green Party. “Many of these iconic species are now at risk of extinction.”
Shark finning typically involves cutting off a shark’s fins and throwing their still-live bodies back into the water. Finned sharks then suffer a slow, gruelling death through starvation, drowning or gradual predation.
Twelve B.C. municipalities have banned shark fins in their jurisdictions while all restaurants in Victoria have taken shark fin soup off their menus. Many other restaurants throughout the province have taken similar steps, yet shark fins continue to be bought and sold around the province.
During question period last week, Weaver brought up the practice of shark finning and tabled a legal opinion stating the province has the authority to ban the sale, trade and distribution of shark fins through constitutional provisions. Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick has committed to meeting with Weaver on the issue.
“This issue is often perceived to be something that only the federal government can act on in a serious way” said Weaver. “However, I received legal advice that there are concrete steps that can be taken by this government to end this practice. I am pleased to see the government shares my concerns and has agreed to meet to discuss how we can go about ending this practice.”
Weaver said the issue was brought to him by a group of concerned students.
“We now have an opportunity for the provincial government to take leadership and demonstrate to these of children that they are responsive to their concerns.”