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White Rock bans shark fin

Richmond MP Alice Wong dines on a bowl of shark fin soup during a press conference held for Chinese media last month. - Contributed photo
Richmond MP Alice Wong dines on a bowl of shark fin soup during a press conference held for Chinese media last month.
— image credit: Contributed photo

The sale, possession and distribution of shark fin is officially banned in White Rock.

In response to a motion presented by Mayor Wayne Baldwin, councillors voted unanimously Monday to take a stand against what Baldwin described as “an ecological disaster waiting to happen.”

The motion – which includes encouraging provincial and federal governments to implement similar bans – is in response to the recent “show of unity” by Union of B.C. Municipalities delegates. They voted in September to ask the province to outlaw the possession or sale of shark fins that Chinese restaurants turn into coveted bowls of shark fin soup.

“It seems like a socially responsible thing to do, and one that should be invoked everywhere,” Baldwin told Peace Arch News before the meeting. “It’s a senseless slaughter of an animal.”

Proponents of an expansive ban say shark finning is inhumane, with poachers catching their prey, cutting off the fins and throwing the sharks overboard. They also say the demand for fins is threatening many shark species with extinction.

Representatives of the B.C. Asian Restaurant and Café Owners Association have said such a ban would infringe on their rights.

The issue was highlighted Oct. 11 during a press conference for Chinese media, during which Richmond MP Alice Wong dined on a bowl of the delicacy in a show of support for the BCARCOA.

At the time, Wong said, there is “no basis” for banning a legally imported product.

Baldwin – who said he tried shark fin soup “about 30 years ago” at a Chinese wedding – told PAN he had “no hesitation” in recommending council approve a ban in his city.

He isn’t aware of any restaurants in White Rock that currently serve the meal.

 

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