Skip to main content

A glass jar of shark fin sold at a shop in Toronto's Chinatown.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Brantford, Ont., population of roughly 90,000, is putting itself on the map as the first Canadian jurisdiction to ban shark fin.

In a city council meeting Monday night, Brantford councillors voted unanimously in favour of prohibiting the possession, sale and consumption of the Chinese delicacy, aiming to set an example for the rest of the country.

Every year, the shark finning industry kills an estimated 73 million sharks, and is notorious for its cruel and wasteful practice of slicing fins off live fish and letting them die slowly. Conservation groups say one-third of the world's shark species are now threatened with extinction.

Story continues below advertisement

Several U.S. jurisdictions have introduced or proposed bans on the trade and consumption of shark fin, including Hawaii, Guam, Washington state, Oregon and California. Brantford is the first municipality in North America to do so.

The landlocked, mid-sized Ontario city is an unlikely place to take the lead. No restaurant in the city actually offers shark fin, which is generally served in soup at Chinese banquets. Nonetheless, that didn't stop Phil Gillies, former Brantford member of provincial parliament and supporter of the conservation group WildAid, from proposing the motion for the ban.

"The city is moving on this issue to draw attention to this looming ecological crisis, and to set an example for other towns and cities throughout the world," Mr. Gillies said in a press release.

Brantford city councillor Dan McCreary said the penalties for violating the ban have yet to be determined. Unlike in the U.S., where some have criticized shark fin bans as discriminatory, Mr. McCreary said there has been no opposition in Brantford.

"We've got a lot of Chinese, Japanese and other Oriental folks here in town. But you know, I don't see that this is particularly an issue for them either," he said.

"If you prohibit the sale of these products, you'll prohibit the murder of these animals," Mr. McCreary said. "Hopefully other jurisdictions will follow suit."

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter