Glenn De Baeremaeker proposes city-wide shark fin ban, taking a cue from…Brantford?

Glenn De Baeremaeker proposes city-wide shark fin ban, taking a cue from…Brantford?

A delicious bowl of species endangerment and cruelty (Image: avlxyz) 

A couple weeks ago, the city of Brantford—yes, that Brantford—raised eyebrows when city councillors voted unanimously to ban all foods that include shark fin, making it the first city in Canada to outlaw the controversial ingredient. Although the city had a grand total of zero restaurants serving shark fin, the council intended the ban to act as a model for cities like Toronto, where shark fin can actually be found. Amazingly, it looks like it’s working.

Scarborough councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker will introduce a motion next week calling for a new bylaw to outlaw both the sale and the possession of shark fin in the city. The motion was supported by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, who admits that her decision may make some waves.

From CBC News:

“In order to do the right thing, even though it may make me an unpopular person in the Chinese community for a little while, I think it’s the direction that we should be going in,” she said.

“And I think that we should also be sending a message to our suppliers in the grocery stores and also a message to the restaurateurs that, you know, we will support you and will support ethical fishing.”

Soup made from shark fin is an important food item in traditional Chinese culture and is a fixture at wedding banquets and other significant events.

Wong-Tam said she used to eat the fins, but her family decided to stop consuming them 10 years ago after they decided that shark fishing was unsustainable.

Unsustainable, and pretty inhumane too—the roughly 73 million sharks finned each year are routinely thrown back in the ocean after their fins are sliced off, leaving them to die slowly. According to various marine conservation groups, an estimated one-third of the world’s shark species are in danger of extinction. If the bylaw is passed, something tells us that city council won’t exactly be laying out the welcome mats for Spinal Tap any time soon.

Councillor moves to ban shark fin in Toronto [Toronto Star]
Shark fin ban proposed for Toronto [CBC]