Toronto bans shark's fin from next year


Toronto bans shark's fin from next year

Toronto bans shark's fin from next year

Thursday, October 27, 2011
  • fins
Imagine the number of sharks killed for these fins.

TORONTO: This city of five million, which is Canada's largest, has voted unanimously to ban the sale of shark's fins, which is used in soups especially by Chinese restaurants, from next year.

The move to ban the possession, sale, trade and distribution of shark's fins or their derivative products passed by a vote of 38 to 4, but ironically it was not supported by mayor Rob Ford, who said it was not the city's responsibility to ban shark fins.

The ban was initiated by councillors John Parker, Glenn De Baeremaeker and Kristyn Wong-Tam.

Toronto is home to a large Chinese community and has a few Chinatowns within the Greater Toronto Area. Shark's fin soup is a common dish at Chinese weddings too.

Supporters of the ban complained about sharks being killed inhumanely. With their fins cut off, they are often thrown back into the seas alive.

Others think otherwise, arguing that the soup is a traditional dish and delicacy, and insisting that there is no issue of cruelty as the sharks are killed humanely.

It remains to be seen if the Toronto ban would get the support of cities across Canada. The other cities with a huge Chinese community are Vancouver and Calgary in the Western region of the country.

Prior to the voting, mayor Ford said he did not think it was the city's business to ban shark's fins, adding that he would not support the motion.

He said the issue had been going on for so long and "I don't know why it's an issue now."

A group of protesters outside the Toronto City Hall, said the ban would hurt the restaurant industry. Toronto has Asian restaurants that open right up till midnight, and some up till 4 a.m.

The by-law on shark's fins allows for fines ranging from C$5,000 for a first offence to C$100,000 for a third offence.

Some poured scorn on the ban, saying it would not serve much of a purpose, as is not difficult for customers craving for shark's fin soup to drive to nearby towns and cities unless there is a country-wide ban imposed by the federal government.

The nearby cities of Brantford, Oakville and Mississauga have recently passed by-laws banning the sale and consumption of shark's fin.

Some Chinese-Canadians felt they were being singled out as shark's fin soup is a traditional dish they could do without.

Shark's fin soup is not cheap but still that does not dilute its popularity or demand.