Elizabeth May’s first bill could spell the end of shark fin on restaurant bills.
The MP for Saanich-Gulf Island tabled C-417, hoping to amend the Fish Inspection Act and Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act in the hopes of curtailing the unregulated importing of shark fin to Canada.
“My efforts to get a shark fin ban actually started because of my constituents. A group of local divers formed a group to press for protection for sharks,” May said. “The consumption is driving the practice is driving multiple species of sharks to the brink of extinction. It is important to me to come back [to the Peninsula] because this is where I started.”
May worked with New Democrat MP Fin Donnelly who has another private members bill which hopes to ban the importation of shark fin altogether which, if passed, could mean May’s would no longer be needed. Either way, May hopes the practice of shark finning is curtailed one way or another.
“This is the first private members bill now I have been able to introduce as an MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands,” she said. “I am enormously pleased to come back to where we started. We had our first press conference here in August and we have tangible progress to report.”
The bill would add requirements for the importation of shark or shark product to include the name and country of harvest in writing to an inspector. It would also prohibit sale or importation unless it is prepackaged and labelled to show mercury contamination may make it unfit for human consumption.
Currently four U.S. states and six municipalities in Canada ban the sale of shark fin products and the executive director for WildAid, Rob Sinclair said he hopes communities in B.C. would join them.
“WildAid inter national specific target is to target the $10 billion illegal trade in wildlife. The largest illegal trade is shark fin,” he said. “Our hope is B.C. and Canada will become leaders in this international fight against the greatest trade in illegal wildlife product in the world.”