Cat. 3, Activism 16 – BL-61 – Year of the Shark

Cat. 3, Activism 16 – BL-61 – Year of the Shark

Ch. 61 –  Year of the Shark

ACTIVISTS PROTEST TO BAN SHARK FINS IN CHINATOWN

A group of local community organizations and activists came together in Chinatown Saturday morning in support of a ban on shark fins.

Shark fin soup has been served as a delicacy for centuries in China and elsewhere and is a huge status symbol often served at wedding banquets.

The demand has been so huge, that it has led to the virtual decimation of the species. Shark populations worldwide have been in decline and as many as 73 million are thought to be traded annually for their fins triggering a conservation crisis.

“The removal of the top predator from the oceans is bound to have serious consequences,” said Anthony Marr, a Chinese Canadian animal rights activist who is campaigning for the ban. He has previously been involved with campaigns leading to the ban of products containing tiger bone, bear bile and rhino horns.

Claudia Li, the founder of Shark Truth, an organization that has been involved in grassroots efforts to stop shark fin use within the Chinese-Canadian community said that she supported the idea of ban, but felt that cultural sensitivity was needed in addressing the issue. “Most vendors dealing in shark fins here in Chinatown are low and middle income operators,” she said, “we need to work at making the community aware rather than antagonizing them. That only burns bridges.”

*     *     *

I spent early 2011 more or less just recovering from CARE-7. If CARE-8 called upon me, I suppressed it. For those not familiar with organizing tours, much less a mammoth 40-states-in-7-months continental tour, it is more difficult to organize one than to execute one. If I wanted to launch a CARE-8 in 2011, I would have had to start organizing it as of early January. So, there was no CARE-8, in 2011 or any other year up to and including 2016. 2017? 2018? Time will tell.

I would not say that the CARE-7 attacks intimidated me. I’ve faced worse without being fazed. Fatigue might be closer to the truth, or else, simply that seven was enough. I mean, who am I to try to outdo Admiral Cheng He and his seven glorious voyages?

For the first time, I did not drive to the AR conference as part of a CARE-tour, but flew straight from Vancouver to LA. A small surprise awaited me in the plane in the form of my good friend Diane “Fireweed” Radmore and her beau, and a few other BC activists including Brian Vincent and his spouse. So at least I had good company to alleviate some of what had been nagging me at the back of my mind about going to AR2011. There were thousands of people saying that they hated my guts in 2010. How many of them would show up at 2011? Just a shadow, but it did dim my enthusiasm a shade, until something unexpected did happen – not one, but two.

There was a large and treed patio at the back of the Hilton Centre where AR2011 was in full swing. It was a popular spot for attendees and speakers alike to hang out and mingle between sessions or for lunch. It was quite crowded when I entered, more people moving around than standing still, more “HI! HOW’VE YA BEEN?”s than deep philosophical discussions. Lots of familiar faces and ubiquitous smiles; zero frowns or detectable hostilities. A garden of peace and harmony, and compassionate love, out of which emerged a beautiful stranger who knew nothing about me, good or bad – an excellent start!

Maybe she knew that I was a speaker, but that’s about it. We barely had had enough time to share some prelim pleasantries, to the point of exchanging first names – hers was Shannon – and I would have loved to stand still talking to her for as long as she would, when I heard my name being called by a woman from left field. I turned, and saw the bright smile of Melanie (pseudo), who used to be a friend, but who deleted me during the CARE-7 conflict. We had not talked since. And now, she was right in front of me with open arms, eyes shining. I was frankly a little stunned. I needed a couple of seconds to sort out my thoughts and feelings. Meanwhile, I turned back to Shannon and said, “Don’t go away,” then accepted Melanie’s hug. Melanie made no reference to the CARE-7 affair, as if it didn’t happen, and I stayed away from it, as if it didn’t happen either. So we had a brief catch-up, “as if nothing had happened”. It was a graceful little dance that we both did to skirt a common obstacle and leave it behind. There was no ill felling, at least on my part. I felt good that a lost friend was regained. With a parting smile, Melanie drifted away, and I turned back to Shannon, but she was gone. Good start for something that was destined to become permanent. 🙂

In the ensuing months, quite a few ex-friends who deleted me in FB during the conflict period sent me friend requests, all of which I reaccepted without comment. Eventually, olive branches were extended all around. Peace and harmony restored. Onward and upward!

My next campaign, or should I say, the next campaign in which I played a co-leading role, unfolded in the latter half of 2012, this time for the sharks.

Though I had always been anti-shark-finning for decades, this particular campaign was originated by Marley Daviduk, leader of the Vancouver Animal Defence League. Her goal was to have shark fins and shark fin soup banned in the Lower Mainland of BC, which included Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, New Westminster, Delta, White Rock, Surrey, Langley, Aldergrove, Abbotsford, Mission, Maple Ridge, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, Port Moody, North Vancouver and West Vancouver. She contacted me to discuss strategy and tactics. My advice was that there were two strategies – bottom-up and top-down. Just like my Chinatown campaign back in 1995, I dismissed the bottom –up approach, which was to go into Chinatown and ask the merchants to voluntarily destroy their thousands of dollars’ worth of shark fins, and to ask restaurants to voluntarily stop serving shark fin soup, even if there was a market for it. The sharks, being under too much pressure as it was, there was no time for this gradualistic approach, which would take years if not decades to make a significant difference – if the “voluntary” route would work at all, ever.

The top down approach was to go straight up to city hall and persuade the councillors to ban it. And since shark fin soup was a Chinese delicacy, my being of Chinese extraction serving as spokesperson would give us an inside track, Marley said. I agreed. So, from June to November, 2012, I gave more than a dozen speeches to the city halls of the above named cities.

*     *     *

June 8, 2012

Open letter by Anthony Marr

This is about banning shark fins outright, immediately or sooner, not about voluntary withdrawal over years and decades, “one bowl at a time”. The sharks just can’t wait that long!

Shark-finning is obscenely cruel. Half of all shark species are endangered. In total lives 90 million sharks die every year for nothing worthier than ultra-expensive bowls of liquid prestige.

The gradualist voluntary-withdrawal approach is presumably, to put it bluntly, so that the Chinese people wouldn’t lose face. But as a Chinese Canadian myself, I want shark fins outright banned ASAP. Continued consumption and commerce for years if not decades, with the whole world looking on, can only further embarrass those good Chinese people who are against consuming such products, such as myself, and further damage the Chinese reputation as well as the reputation of otherwise relatively civilized cities like Vancouver.

For the state of the movement, the following Canadian cities and Pacific Rim U.S. states have banned shark fins outright:

Canadian cities: Brantford (ON), Coquitlam (BC), Mississauga (ON), Port Moody (BC), Toronto (ON)

U.S. Pacific states: California, Oregon the Washington state-wide.

Conspicuously absent, especially to me in the Lower Mainland on the Canadian Pacific Rim, are the two major shark-fins-consuming centres of Vancouver’s Chinatown and Richmond. We want them to be shark-fins-free zones, and simultaneously, such that no buck can be passed back and forth. We could include Victoria at this point, but few if not none would take a two hour ferry ride just to have a bowl of shark-fin soup. Further, if Vancouver and Richmond both come down with a ban, others including Victoria, Nanaimo, Burnaby and New Westminster will follow suit. Coquitlam and Port Moody have already done it.

Marley Daviduk of the Vancouver Animals Defense League has taken upon herself to contact all Vancouver and Richmond city councillors to see where they stand, and to seek their cooperation. One Vancouver councillor in favour of an outright ban to whom Marley has spoken offered her the following advice:

[If/when the city councillors receive large amounts of emails urging an outright ban, they will work towards an outright ban. If there is no pressure on city hall to change, nothing will change in the street.]

Abiding by this wisdom, we ask all, whether you live in Vancouver, Richmond or elsewhere, to email the following mayors and city councillors:

mayorandcouncillors@richmond.ca, mayor.corrigan@burnaby.ca, gregor.robertson@vancouver.ca, clraffleck@vancouver.ca, clrball@vancouver.ca, clrcarr@vancouver.ca, clrdeal@vancouver.ca, clrjang@vancouver.ca, clrmeggs@vancouver.ca, clrreimer@vancouver.ca, clrstevenson@vancouver.ca, clrtang@vancouver.ca

And please share this request on. The sharks depend on us!

Here is my contribution:

Dear mayors and councillors of Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby:

We all know that shark-finning is extremely cruel, that half of the world’s shark species are endangered, that 90 million sharks are finned per year around the world, and thousands of shark fins from unknown species find their ways into Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby.

We also know that Canadian cities including Brantford (ON), Coquitlam (BC), Mississauga (ON), Port Moody (BC) and Toronto (ON), and all three American Pacific states of California, Oregon and Washington, have banned shark-fins outright. Conspicuously absent are Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby, where it should have all begun, and they wouldn’t even come to the table laid out for them.

I am aware that there may be a VOLUNTARY WITHDRAWAL program ongoing between city hall and certain groups, but such a strategy will take years if not decades to take significant effect. The sharks, especially their endangered species, simply do not have the time, and with every year’s delay, another 90 million sharks meet their horrible fate…

I urge immediate action for also a personal reason. As one among thousands of Chinese Canadians who are against the use of shark fins, I feel daily embarrassed by the continuation of this vile practice, in my home city, and the vile language I’ve heard used against the Chinese people because of it.

As a Chinese Canadian, I am writing to strongly urge an outright ban of all shark fin products as soon as possible, and request your constructive response at your earliest convenience.

The current gradualist approach does have a place, and that is to educate the Chinese people why there is a ban, but first, there ought to be a ban.

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,

Anthony Marr, Founder and President

Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)

Vancouver

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June 25, 2012

Media release

SHARK-FIN BAN URGED FOR VANCOUVER, RICHMOND AND BURNABY

Anthony Marr will present at Burnaby City Hall June 25, Monday, 7pm

In Ontario, the cities of Toronto, Brantford, Mississauga, Oakville, Newmarket, Pickering and London have banned shark fins outright. In the U.S. Pacific: California, Oregon and Washington have all banned shark fins state-wide.

Here in British Columbia – Port Moody, Coquitlam and North Vancouver have publicly announced their own bans.

Conspicuously absent: Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby, which should be in the forefront of this charge.

The Vancouver Animal Defence League aims at outright shark-fin bans in all cities of British Columbia, beginning with Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby.

As a first salvo, Anthony Marr will deliver a 10-minute presentation at the Burnaby City Hall (4949 Canada Way) on June 25, Monday, at 7 pm. The Vancouver Animal Defence League will hold a respectful demonstration in front of the city hall at 6 pm. All are welcome to join.

“Other than shark-finning being exceedingly cruel, half of all shark species are endangered,” says Anthony Marr. “Every year, 75-90 million sharks of various species are killed for their fins, with the rest of their still-alive bodies thrown back into the ocean. Shark-finning is by and large illegal, but almost every country with a coast line does it. And these poached products end up in the Chinatowns of cities like Vancouver and Richmond where the trade is legal, while over half of the fins could be from endangered species.”

The “one-bowl-at-a-time voluntary withdrawal” approach may work, given a few decades; unfortunately, there may be no more sharks to save by then.”

ACTIVISTS ASK FOR SHARK FIN BAN

Burnaby News Leader

by Wanda Chow

June 21, 2012

Like many people of Chinese heritage, Anthony Marr ate shark fin soup, a symbol of wealth and prosperity often served at wedding banquets.

Then, as a young man, he learned how shark fins are harvested.

“I was appalled,” said Marr, now an animal rights activist. “I actually saw a video that showed how the sharks were just baited and hooked, brought on board… then had the fins cut off and the rest of the shark thrown back.

“Then there was also footage showing one of the sharks sinking to the bottom and just trying to gasp for breath and couldn’t move, just kept wriggling the body until they die. It was horrible.”

Marr, a Vancouver resident, will be speaking as a delegation to Burnaby council on Monday evening on behalf of the Vancouver Animal Defence League. The group wants to see the city ban the sale of shark fins and the serving of shark fin soup.

In recent months, Port Moody and Coquitlam have already approved such a ban, Marr said, and several cities in Ontario done so before that.

The group is now aiming to get such bans in place in the Lower Mainland cities with the largest populations of people of Chinese heritage—Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby.

Marr said that, of the more than 400 species of shark, over half are endangered. Shark finning is mostly carried out by poachers who “don’t give a hoot” what species they’re poaching, so half of the shark fins sold are likely from endangered species.

The largest harvesters of shark fin are in Costa Rica, Spain, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Singapore and Taiwan, he said.

Marr has been involved in campaigns to protect tigers in India and whales and dolphins off the coast of Japan. For him, the campaign to ban the trade of shark fins is personally significant.

“I also feel if it’s a Chinese activist who stood up and led to the banning of it then the Chinese people would doubly redeem themselves,” he said, “by number one, stopping using it, and, number two, banning it by law.”

Marr and the Vancouver Animal Defence League will hold a demonstration in front of Burnaby city hall at 6 p.m. on Monday, June 25, which he is calling on members of the public to join. That will be followed by Marr’s 10-minute presentation to council at 7 p.m. Monday in city hall council chambers

June 28, 2012 5:00 PM

Surrey North Delta Leader

by Jeff Nagel

SHARK FIN BAN GAINS MOMENTUM IN METRO CITIES

A campaign to stamp out the use of shark fins by Chinese restaurants is quickly gaining steam across Metro Vancouver.

Activists have already persuaded Coquitlam, Port Moody and the City of North Vancouver to ban the possession and use of the fins and Burnaby is expected to follow suit.

Now Vancouver Animal Defence League spokesman Anthony Marr is preparing to go after Vancouver, Richmond and Surrey – cities home to many of the Metro restaurants that serve shark fin soup.

“They’re going down like dominoes,” Marr said of the cities signing on. “It’s going pretty strong.”

Seven cities in Ontario, including Toronto, have agreed to bans, but B.C. is the big prize.

By getting smaller communities on board first, Marr hopes to convince councils of the bigger Metro cities to simultaneously sign on to a ban and defuse concerns that affected restaurateurs will flee Vancouver for Richmond or vice-versa.

Marr himself ate shark fin soup as a kid in Hong Kong, but gave it up when he saw how poachers carve the fins off live sharks, which are then dumped back in the ocean to die.

It’s not just a tragedy for the slow-to-reproduce sharks.

“If you wipe out the sharks, the medium-sized fish they prey on will proliferate and overfeed on the smaller fish,” Marr said. “They will proliferate and the fisheries will most likely collapse. So sharks are very important.”

Marr claims plenty of allies in the Chinese community who agree it’s time to end a barbaric practice, responsible for the slaughter of over 50 million sharks annually.

But he doesn’t try to convert restaurateurs, or their rich clientele who see shark fin as a prestigious delicacy.

He figures sharks will be extinct by the time they come around or are replaced by younger, more enlightened generations of Chinese heritage.

Nor does he apologize for what some fellow Chinese see as an attack on their culture.

“If you cater to the Chinese culture and let them carry on with it, you’re not really doing the Chinese reputation any favours,” he counters.

Some civic politicians have questioned their authority to enforce a ban.

Marr is working with others, including NDP MP Fin Donnelly, for a Canada-wide ban, as well as a provincial one.

But he contends shark fins should be illegal to possess already, since Canada is signatory to an international convention banning trade in endangered species and many shark species are endangered.

It’s difficult to prove what species of shark a fin came from or whether it was removed from a live or dead shark, he noted.

Some of the local bylaws being imposed simply refuse business licences to businesses that trade or use shark fins, or impose fines for violations.

Marr has been a force in B.C.’s animal rights movement for years.

In the mid-1990s he helped wage a campaign in Vancouver’s Chinatown to end imports of endangered species products like tiger balm, rhino horn and bear bile.

And he spearheaded a provincial initiative to block bear hunting, a campaign that failed but led to a provincial moratorium on grizzly hunting in 2001.

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July 4, 2012

Dear Editor:

Re: Shark groups calls for ban on fin soup, Burnaby NOW, July 4

It has been said that 73 million sharks are killed each year. Some people, like Mr. Anthony Marr, called for the ban of sharks’ fin. If sharks’ fin is banned in every corner of the earth, shark hunting will cease to be an economic activity and the shark population will grow. I’d like to ask Mr. Marr the following questions:

  1. If the shark population keeps growing, what good will it bring to the human race?
  2. If the shark population keeps dropping, what evil will it do to the human race?
  3. How much fish do 73 million sharks consume, bearing in mind that sharks are a warm-blooded animal, requiring a lot of calories to maintain their body temperature a few degrees above the surrounding water and to provide them with energy to keep swimming and chasing prey?
  4. I am not a scientist and have no access to research results, but assuming that each shark eats an average of 11 kilograms of fish a day, it will eat about two tonnes in a year. Seventy-three million sharks will consume about 150 million tonnes a year. If no shark is killed from now on, the depletion of the fish stock in the ocean will not just be 150 million tonnes a year, but an arithmetical progression of that figure until the first 73 million sharks that escape death die of a natural causes.
  5. When sharks leave insufficient marine life protein to human, what are we going to do? Will the United Nations command member countries to tax their people to hire fishermen to catch and kill sharks, because when sharks’ fin cannot be sold, no fishermen will go to sea to hunt sharks to lose money?

I hope that people will consider these questions and points before continuing to push for the ban of sharks’ fin. There are other ways to cut down the killing of sharks.

Henry Ho, Burnaby

© Copyright (c) Burnaby Now

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To the Editor

Anthony Marr’s response to Henry Ho’s commentary:

Mr. Ho’s 5 questions can be boiled down to two words: “Uninformed” and “Anthropocentric”. He is correct in only one thing, that he is no scientist.

Sharks are apex predators. In Mr. Ho’s simplistic view, it is: “More predators, less prey.” What he does not understand is that predators come in several Trophic Levels, i.e. there is more than one level of predators. The sharks, being top predators, prey upon the 2nd and 3rd level predators only, which in turn prey upon the 4th and 5th level predators, which are also prey. So if the sharks were wiped out, the 2nd and 3rd level predators would proliferate and over-prey upon the 4th and 5th level fish, and the entire ecosystem, resting on this weakened foundation, could collapse.

Secondly, sharks have extremely low reproductive rates. While other fish lay thousands of eggs every year, most sharks lay less than 10 eggs once every 2-4 years. Plus, some sharks do not even reach sexual maturity until age 10 or even 20. If we kill them in such huge numbers, there is no way for certain species to recover.

Third, of the 400 or so species of sharks, at least 50 are classified endangered. Some report up to 200 species. Shark-finners are by and large illegal poachers, who care not a hoot which species to target. So, short of a fin-by-fin DNA analysis, there is no way to ascertain which fin in Chinatown belongs to which species. May I ask if Mr. Ho is going to foot the bill, or the city of Burnaby, or Richmond, or Vancouver?

Fourth, all the existing laws are against shark finning, shark fin consumption and the shark fin trade. CITES (Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species) does not allow import/export of endangered species. The Canadian WAPPRIITA law (Wild Animals and Plants Protection and the International and Interprovincial Trade Act) does not allow the trading of endangered species products within Canada. The U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization specifically bans shark finning, as does the Canadian Fisheries Act.

So, Burnaby, Richmond and Vancouver currently allowing the shark-fin trade, when the chances are high that any given fin could have come from an endangered species, is in fact a violation of all these laws, including Canada’s own.

Both Mr. Ho and I are of Chinese extraction. The readers will just have to decide on what kind of Chinese they want to be.

Anthony Marr, Founder and President

Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)

Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)

*     *     *

July 9 – a great media day for the sharks!

Vancouver Sun article in Food section

CTV – Chinatown 10:30am

City TV – Chinatown 11:00am

CBC-radio -at my home 1:00pm

Fairchild TV – at my home 2:15 pm

CBC TV – at my home 3:30pm

OMNI-TV – at Richmond City Hall 5:30pm – live

Richmond Review will dispatch a reporter to cover the demo and presentation

Richmond News interviewed me on the phone, and requested pics of the event for an article tomorrow

CKWX 1130AM radio – wants to talk AFTER the presentation

24Hrs newspaper wants me to call them tomorrow morning for an update.

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July 10, 2012

Richmond Review – News

by Matthew Hoekstra

RESTAURATEUR REJECTS SHARK FIN BAN

Shark fin soup is a delicacy symbolizing wealth and health, and traditionally served at Chinese wedding banquets, but the practice of harvesting fins is widely viewed as inhumane. Demand is also putting the animals at risk of extinction.

A possible shark fin ban in Richmond has the stomachs of some local restaurant owners churning.

David Chung, owner of The Jade Seafood Restaurant on Alexandra Road, vows to put up a fight if city council follows Toronto’s lead of banning the sale and consumption of the Chinese delicacy used in soup.

“Shark fin soup is a tradition that we don’t want to break. It’s something we treasure,” said Chung in an interview with The Richmond Review.

The Jade offers four types of shark fin soup on its dinner menu, ranging from $24 to $63, and it’s a popular choice on banquet menus. But elected officials are now mulling a ban on shark fins, following an activist’s plea at city hall Monday.

The B.C. Asian Restaurant and Cafe Owners Association, which represents nearly 100 restaurants in Richmond, Vancouver and Burnaby, met Wednesday and agreed a ban on shark fins wouldn’t hurt their bottom line, but would infringe on their rights, said Chung, who is the association’s president.

“Nobody likes the idea of banning this eating of shark fin because it’s our right to eat things like this.”

Proponents of a 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.

But Chung believes only a small portion of harvesters treat the animals as activists claim, adding government shouldn’t focus on such a “little” issue.

“The reason for it is so minor and these activists make such a big deal out of it. It’s just totally unfair,” he said. “If the federal government decided we can import shark fin, we should be able to eat it.”

Chung said shark finning provides jobs for people in developing countries and balances the food system. As a top predator, if sharks are left unchecked, they’ll consume more and more fish, he said.

“If they’re not being hunted or they’re not being killed, a lot of things would change too. The way I see it, the Chinese people have become part of the food chain that keeps things in check.”

Toronto’s ban, on the possession, sale and consumption of shark fin products, goes into effect Sept. 1, imposing fines of $5,000 for a first offence, $25,000 for a second conviction and $100,000 for subsequent ones. Six other Ontario cities have also agreed to bans.

In Metro Vancouver, Coquitlam, Port Moody and the City of North Vancouver have also banned possession and use of shark fins.

Activist Anthony Marr presented his case for a ban to Richmond council Monday. He hopes to also convince Burnaby and Vancouver to adopt a ban.

“It’s cruel. The analogy is if some aliens abducted you, cut off your four limbs and dumped you back onto the road. That’s what we do to the sharks, by cutting off their fins and dumping them back into the water,” Marr told The Review.

According to ocean conservation group Oceana, 50 of the 307 shark species in the world are vulnerable or endangered, and Marr said it’s impossible for shark fin consumers to know what poached products they’re buying.

Richmond council has asked staff to research the issue and deliver a report by year’s end.

33 COMMENTS

*Anthony Marr · Founder and President at Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE), followed then by 1,333 subscribers

It used to be people’s “right” to keep and abuse slaves. Mr. Chung represents only those who profit from the cruelty and the destruction. What he says and does are ignorant and arrogant in the extreme, and ruinous to the Chinese reputation. He certainly does not speak for, and in fact speaks against, the majority of the Chinese Canadians living in Richmond who are compassionate, educated and aware. But what he sprouted is nothing new. Back in 1995 when I waged the successful campaign against the tiger, bear and rhino parts trade in Chinatown, the reaction of some profiteers and racketeers was just the same, and I received death threats and endured intimidation. But thanks to enlightened citizens and law-makers, the tiger, bear and rhino medicines have been eradicated, and so will be the shark fin.

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*Brenda Davis, University of Guelph

Albert Schweitzer once said, “The thinking man must oppose all cruel customs no matter how deeply rooted in tradition and surrounded by a halo. When we have a choice, we must avoid bringing torment and injury into the life of another….” WE HAVE A CHOICE. Why would we subject these animals to such torture when it is not only unnecessary, but potentially devastating to the species? To add insult to injury, sharks are large predatory fish that contain high levels of heavy metals and other environmental contaminants, so are best avoided as foods anyway. Nothing will ever justify these kinds of atrocities.

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*Marley Jean, Vancouver, British Columbia

This article blows my mind. Literally everything Mr. Chung says is completely out of this world untrue and totally made up to suit his financial desires. I think it is about time that the Richmond review did an article about shark fins and actually quoted some scientists and printed some facts. Mr. Chung wants shark fins on the menu for one reason only, MONEY. This article would be laughable if it wasn’t so disturbing that there are people on this planet who have such a bizarre and dangerous way of thinking and rationalizing violence and destruction of the natural world.

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*Dale Trigg

Marley Jean, hang my head in shame to be of the same species as Mr. Chung.

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*Darren Sacher · Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Makes me want to paste posters of shark finning truth covered in his quotes all over the neighborhood surrounding his restaurant.

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*Felicity Jackson · Works at Shark and marine life saver

“Shark fin soup is a tradition that we don’t want to break. It’s something we treasure,” said Chung. Well, sharks in our ocean are a tradition I don’t want to see broken and are creatures that we should all treasure. Shark finning is not only a hugely cruel act upon a living creature, it is causing the decimation of our shark populations. Sharks have a huge part to play in keeping our oceans healthy. For millions of years sharks have helped to keep the delicate balance of the ocean’s ecosystem in check. With the huge rise in demand for shark fin soup over recent years, shark populations cannot keep up. If we don’t make a stand and eradicate this traditional dish, sadly this traditional dish will very soon eradicate most of our sharks. I do not want to live in a world where we have no sharks and I dread to think what sort of planet we will be leaving to our children if this happens. It is about time humans started using the intelligence we have been given and learn to live in harmony with our natural world instead of blindly destroying it for our own selfish whims.

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*Shannon Veganista · English Language Consultant at 台北市政府 (Tai Pei City Government)

People evolve and so do cultures. Chinese culture, most importantly, is so much more grand than a toxic soup that leads to the collapse of our ocean system, not to mention the demise of a great species that has lived on this planet for 450 million years, responsible to keep our marine systems healthy. Mr. Chung represents only fraction of those who’re selfishly holding on to the dollar sign and not giving a hoot of the future of his own offspring. Toronto is a great city and it has the potential to be a vanguard of a great cause. Please do not let these short-sighted people tarnish the future of our oceans and our planet. I’m in so much pain as I write this, pain for the horror that sharks suffer in the finning process, a process that breeds from greed.

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*Lesa Galbraith · Des benevoles sur Terre at Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Sharks are being depleted faster than they can reproduce. 90% of the world’s large shark populations already wiped out. Sharks are an important apex predator. Shark Finning is a brutal slaughter of helpless animals. Their Fins are sliced off while they are still alive and then they are tossed back into the ocean where they die an agonizing death, as they are unable to swim without their Fins.

Shark Finning is a barbaric practice, a useless, wasteful and cruel so-called “tradition”.

All Shark Fin products need to be banned.

Sharks play a crucial role within the ecosystems. They ensure our oceans health, enabling our existence. Sharks are quickly headed for extinction.

We all must work together to ensure their survival for future generations.

Mr. Chung: “What about the rights of the Shark? What rghts?”

BAN SHARK FIN – BEFORE IT’S TO LATE.

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*Lynne Koenigsberg · Top Commenter · Fashion Institute of Technology

“Chung said… as a top predator, if sharks are left unchecked, they’ll consume more and more fish…” Another “human bottom feeder” blaming the demise of the fish population on the sharks, Namibian seals or any other non-human species that depends on the ocean for their next meal… The fact is… the human species is the “top predator” cruelly raping the seas for pure greed, and… it’s that simple. Ban shark finning… and any restaurant that serves this item!

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*John Mooter · UC College Conservatory of Music

Many “traditions” need to stop. This is one of them. Thanks, Anthony, for your compassion and activism.

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*Lisamarie Dean · Top Commenter · San Jacinto College North

It’s people’s “right” to impose suffering on another being just so they can eat a part of their body that that don’t need to eat? Whoever told this Mr. Chung it was his “right” to claim lives just for the sole purpose of taste buds and greed? We have NO right to take ANY living being’s life for our own selfish pleasure. The ban needs to be put into effect EVERYWHERE!

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*Joyce Arthur · Executive Director at Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada

Obviously, merchants like Chung just want to protect their bottom line. His assumption is that people have a “right” to despoil the earth and exploit animal life regardless of suffering or cost to the ecosystem. It’s thoughtless, arrogant speciesism at its most despicable.

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*Richard Zheng Wang · Wilfred Laurier University

Mr. Chung talks about “Right” and “Food Chain”. Does he know what these words mean? It is our children’s right to have sharks in their oceans in a hundred years. How is the Chinese people keeping the food chain in check? We are taking the fins according to demand not according to supply. Any school children can tell you this is not how you “Keep something in check”. He says the federal government allows it then it must be right. What about when the Federal Government imposed Chinese Head Tax? Was that a right thing? I wonder if all the mercury in the shark fin soups got to his brain.

——

*Lawrence Pinsky · Executive Producer/Researcher/Journalist at Intrepid Dog Productions

Time to end this mindless and greedy destruction of a species! It’s time to start a new tradition. Stop cutting the fins of millions of sharks every year. Stop cutting the fins off ANY sharks.

——

*Wendy Kobylarz · Antioch University Los Angeles

It’s time already, it’s 2012, to put an end to barbaric practices of all stripes that we inflict on all animals. While it may be harder to get people to stop eating steak or chicken, at least in this part of the world, surely anyone with a brain, eyes and a heart can see the devastation caused to individual animals by this kind of torture and killing. Furthermore, it’s devastating to oceanic ecosystems, and hence, to our very survival as a planet and a species. If you want to see what the oceans and the animals who live there are going through, I highly recommend the Dutch science-sponsored film, “Sea the Truth.” That truth? The oceans will be dead by 2048. Chilling even to me, and I will be 79 years old in that time. Once the oceans are gone, we’re all gone. And just for a few taste buds and political crap, we are going to destroy the planet? And our “right” to treat other creatures this way because we draw some imaginary line of who’s deserving of life and who isn’t?

This is something I will be watching, too, when planning my next vacation. Nowhere on Earth is totally friendly to non-human animals, but some places are a bit better than others. Germany or Canada? It’s kind of looking like Berlin to me at the moment…

——

*Maria Eugenia Gonzalez · Top Commenter · On-Shore Volunteer at Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Conservation of Sharks is one of the most important issues in this planet. Our Oceans are dying because of some “Traditions” Shark finning is a terrible crime against the Oceans and against humanity, people must do the connection before it’s too late. No more Shark fin soup. Nobody needs it.

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*Richard Zheng Wang · Wilfrid Laurier University

Illinois bans shark fin! No more Shark Fin Soup in Chicago’s Chinatown. Hurray!

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*Laura Halifax McKenzie · Tali, T’ai-Wan, Taiwan

Just because it is tradition, doesn’t mean it needs to stay a tradition forever. Yes, it can be hard to change, as we as a species are stubborn and simple. Emotional attachment to a tradition should not override common sense and the need to preserve a species and ecosystem. It is very arrogant and ignorant on the side of Mr. Chung and those like him. Why should his tradition destroy an ocean and species that is shared by the planet, not just the Chinese. Moreover, I wonder if Mr. Chung has a wife and daughters? If so, perhaps someone should go over there and try to get him to bind their feet in the name of tradition. Foot binding was a tradition that older then shark fin soup. When it finally was stopped it had lasted for about 900 years. Shark fin soup is a much younger tradition, and that for emperors, not common folk. I am sick and tired of people using traditions and/or faith for upholding behavior that is detrimental to our species, other species and the environment.

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*Lexie Boezeman Cataldo · Photographer at In Joy Photography

Arranged marriages and bound feet were a tradition in China at one time, also…as we learn more, traditions also change.

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*Jen Hendee · Works at Santa Cruz SPCA

And population numbers change — look how many people there are vs sharks now!!

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*Brad Anthony · Founder, CEO at Global Animal Welfare Development Society (GAWDS)

At $62.99 a bowl; it’s not rocket science figuring out what traditions these restaurants and owners want to protect. They don’t care that their greed is destroying the oceans as long as they make more money. Cannibalism was once a tradition as well; thankfully most people were smart enough to see the benefits of leaving that outdated belief to our dark chapters of history.

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*M. Renee Fulsom · Dmt at Freelancer

Change is good – man should learn to make a tradition to respect the rest of life that they only SHARE this planet with. Seriously some people need to really get over themselves, the sun doesn’t rise and fall for them alone, try looking at the bigger picture.

——

*Andy Murch · Trip Leader at Big Fish Expeditions

I’m sure that the Chinese community in Canada regards “family” very highly and that they would like to protect their families’ futures. Now that shark stocks have been heavily depleted worldwide, it is critical to protect the remaining stocks in order to maintain a healthy balance in our oceans. Disrupting the food web by removing sharks will eventually affect the health of all fish and invertebrate species. Once the ripple effect disturbs the production of plankton, this may ultimately lead to a breakdown in oxygen production and the ocean’s ability to provide us with breathable air.

Tradition is important but there is a much bigger issue here that will impact the health of future generations of Chinese Canadians if the wrong decision is made. The only responsible action at this point is to ban shark fins in order to give shark stocks time to recover. I hope that those members of the Chinese community that are opposed to the ban can see past their resistance to change in order to protect their children’s futures.

——

*Kourosh Taie

“Chung said shark finning provides jobs for people in developing countries and balances the food system. As a top predator, if sharks are left unchecked, they’ll consume more and more fish, he said. ‘If they’re not being hunted or they’re not being killed, a lot of things would change too. The way I see it, the Chinese people have become part of the food chain that keeps things in check.’” lol

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*Gerrit Hopman · Lexington, Kentucky

He also says that he doesn’t want to lose the “tradition.” I’m sure it has nothing to do with money

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*Cheryl Anderson · Works at Sears Canada

Shark finning is a barbaric practice and needs to end. The fins are only used as a starch for the soup no meat from the sharks are used, the sharks are left to die a slow death in the ocean! How can any restaurant owner think that this should be acceptable? Perhaps activists in Richmond need to protest outside that restaurant!

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*Nick Schaeffer

Traditionally Chinese people had no rights in Canada. Is change a bad thing? (Of course not!) Stop justifying this abomination blaming your parents and their cultural values. Grow up a be responsible for our planet, this is our only world. Please don’t ruin it by holding onto ignorance and superstition,

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*Cheryl Ross

How sad…please let me know if a petition is out there that I can sign… I am of the firm belief if you are going to kill an animal to eat you eat all of it and not just one thing. As well the whole top of the food chain thing is going out of the water with the pollution and the ships in the water!!!! Uggg…you ever just want to reach out and slap (oops I mean touch) someone 😉

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*Hayley Honicke · Victoria Girls High School

While we would all like to adhere to the traditions of ancestral origin, there comes a time when you have to look at the facts of what certain traditions are now imposing on our creatures, in this instance sharks. It is a known fact that when demand exceeds supply, the supply will steadily diminish, this is fact and not rocket science. An ocean without sharks has far reaching consequences and until you understand the significance of their role in the oceans ecosystem, I find it condescending when you make assumptions and banal statements which can have far reaching consequences. It is a deplorable, cruel act upon this animal and when you say that this act is done to keep them in control, I consider it a disparaging comment , to say the least. Think before you make statements, of which you have simplistic, rather than educated views, because words have far reaching consequences.

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*Andrea Haas · University of British Columbia

I don’t even know where to start on this guys reasoning….

OK, here we go:

“But Chung believes only a small portion of harvesters treat the animals as activists claim, adding government shouldn’t focus on such a ‘little’ issue.”….

What’s wrong with this statement? “”Chung believes”. That’s what wrong with it. Regardless of what Chung believes, it is not a small portion, it is rather prevalent. Because the fins hold such high value, and the carcass meat does not, there are direct incentives for fishers to cut off the fins and discard the carcass to avoid overfilling the holds on their boats. Next.

“Chung said shark finning provides jobs for people in developing countries….”

Wrong. It is shown that a lot of shark finning happens when sharks are caught as by-catch (taken accidentally), and so these fishers already…

——

*Sandra Lee Childs · Top Commenter · Cascade High School

Laura Halifax McKenzie said it perfectly! There’s simply no excuse for such cruelty and ignorance!

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*Laurie J. Wilson

It is estimated that 73 million sharks are killed annually for shark fin soup. At present, China is responsible for an estimated 95 per cent of that consumption. However, the Chinese Gov’t recently announced plans to ban shark fin soup from all official banquets: This move is lending momentum to an anti-shark fin soup campaign already underway in China led by former basketball star Yao Ming and others. Sorry, Mr. Chung. You can scream tradition all you want. When high-ranking Chinese officials are prepared to go without this dish suggests the tradition can safely be retired in Chinese communities around the world.

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*Paul Wittal Esq · Vancouver, British Columbia

The federal or at least provincial government should stand up for Canadian values and ban it everywhere!

Why does British Columbia lag behind? California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii have banned this barbaric practice. It’s time this archaic “tradition” joins droit du seigneur as an ugly part of history.

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*Ann Gallacher

Not only is shark finning cruel and barbaric, what restaurants serving shark fin soup don’t realize is that the meat from sharks contain high amounts of mercury. So it’s just a matter of time till human deaths will be linked to shark fin soup. Sharks should be left in the oceans where they belong, not in a bowl of soup.

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*Bill Powers · San Diego, California

Hawaii, California, Washington, and Oregon have banned Shark Fin products… not to mention a few nations in the Western Pacific. Even the Chinese government announced recently it was phasing out shark fin soup at all of its official functions. All the science points to many (most?) shark species as being decimated due to (mainly) the practice of finning. But obviously Mr. Chung knows something that of they (we) don’t. Yeah, right.

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*Avalette-Evelle Vegetalienne · Works at STOP UBC Animal Research

A tradition that will ruin our oceans and delicate ecosystems forever? They will not be able to have this “delicacy” when they make the entire shark population extinct! WE NEED SHARKS in our oceans. The people who serve these shark fins have no respect for the rest of the world, as they are killing all the sharks that we need in our oceans as the apex predator. Without sharks our oceans are doomed! This affects the entire world! Come on Canada, get in gear and ban the sale, possession and trade of shark fins nationally! We can’t kill sharks here in Canada because it is endangering our oceans but we can pay someone else to do it? Where is the logic in that? The ONLY option we have that makes sense for the WORLD is to STOP IMPORTING SHARK FINS!

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*Kevan Egan · Stand Grammar School

Shark finning is a barbaric act conducted by barbaric people, how can this be tolerated in a modern world. Can you believe the gall of a man who finds this act acceptable can describe an attempt to stop it as “unfair” :-0?

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*Stewart Sy

Here’s their FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/jadeseafood they’ve been deleting all negative comments folks have been posting there though, last night there were lots of folks putting their feelings on this FB page, but now it’s been deleted. Let them know how you feel.

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*Alister Benn · Director at Whytake LLC

I see they have disabled comments by others on their page

*Deb Fugitt

Only 61 people like their page. Do you think that making comments there just brings them more publicity?

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*Andrew Larson · University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Such a “little” issue… I hope Mr. Chung soon finds his restaurant empty!

For the people in the area – Please do not support this idiot and his business!

—–

How’s this for a show of force? The people, from far and wide, have spoken!

Anthony Marr, Founder and President

Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)

Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)

——

July 10, 20116

Richmond Review

by Matthew Hoekstra

RICHMOIND CONSIDERS SHARK FIN BAN

*Shark fin debate “could get ugly”

*Restaurateur rejects shark fin ban

*Shark Truth rewards couple for going “fin free”

*Shark fin soup ban not yet in cards

*Contest urges weddings to go shark-free

*Shark fin ban gains momentum in Metro cities

City council is probing a ban on shark fins after an activist Monday challenged Richmond to follow Toronto’s lead.

“I’m hoping to start the ball rolling towards having a complete outright ban of shark fins in Richmond: possession, serving of shark fin soup as well as trading in shark fins,” said Anthony Marr…

Richmond’s civic politicians agreed to consider a ban, asking staff to research what other cities have done and offer a report by year’s end. Mayor Malcolm Brodie said that’s when NDP MP Fin Donnelly expects a resolution to his proposed legislation banning importation of shark fins in Canada.

“That will help us to know what we’re doing as well,” said Brodie.

Donnelly has called the mass killing of sharks for their fins an “international marine conservation crisis” that requires immediate action.

Although council’s referral motion was unanimous, only Coun. Harold Steves declared his early support for a ban.

Coun. Chak Au previously told The Review he favoured education, rather than a ban. But Marr, whose activist group is Heal Our Planet Earth, said that approach—used by another advocacy group isn’t making a sufficient impact.

“They just want to soft-pedal the Chinese community,” he said. “The time frame is too short for that. We have to take drastic and decisive action. Besides, we’re not exactly asking them for unprecedented action. They are currently bringing up the read.”

Toronto’s ban, on the possession, sale and consumption of shark fin products, goes into effect Sept. 1, imposing fines of $5,000 for a first offence, $25,000 for a second conviction and $100,000 for subsequent ones. Six other Ontario cities have also agreed to bans.

In Metro Vancouver, Coquitlam, Port Moody and the City of North Vancouver have also banned possession and use of shark fins, and Burnaby—after a recent presentation by Marr—is mulling the idea.

Marr, president and founder of the environmental group Heal Our Planet Earth, hopes Richmond, Vancouver and Burnaby will be among the first cities in B.C. to ban shark fins.

“The cruelty is horrendous. The analogy is if some aliens abducted you, cut off your four limbs and dumped you back onto the road. That’s what we do to the sharks,” said Marr.

According to ocean conservation group Oceana, 50 of the 307 shark species in the world are vulnerable or endangered, and Marr said it’s impossible for shark fin consumers to know what poached products they’re buying. He noted Canada has laws forbidding importation and sale of endangered species.

“Richmond right now, by selling shark fins some inevitably from endangered species, is in violation of Canadian law,” he said.

*     *     *

Nanaimo City Council
Archived pages: 803 . Archive date: 2013-06.

Title:   PRESS RELEASE: Nanaimo City Council Bans Shark-Fin Soup in City | Dana Wagg @ CHLY 101.7 FM
Descriptive info: PRESS RELEASE: Nanaimo City Council Bans Shark-Fin Soup in City | Dana Wagg.. Aug.. Posted by CHLY News as.. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.. By Dana C.. R.. Wagg.. NANAIMO..

Nanaimo has taken a giant step forward in banning the sale of shark-fin soup in the city. Last night (August 13), city council unanimously approved in principle a bylaw supporting the ban, following a presentation by animal-rights campaigner Anthony Marr. Marr was backed by a delegation of about 40 people, who had just attended an information session/support rally in nearby Diana Krall Plaza in downtown Nanaimo. Signatures in support of the ban were collected. “Fins on sharks, not in soup”, read one supporter s poster, which featured a colorful, playful-looking shark, which, except for its razor-like teeth, looked like the famous bottlenose dolphin Flipper.

Council members didn’t mince words, after listening intently to Marr.

“I am extremely opposed to this whole finning of sharks, said Mayor Ruttan. It’s an absolute travesty this is allowed. It is a pathetic and disgraceful thing to do. I will certainly be supporting the ban of shark fins.”

The mayor set the tone for council members, who followed. Councillor Diana Johnstone called the practice of finning sharks (often alive) and throwing the rest of their bodies back into the sea absolutely inhumane. Still another councillor called the practice of finning disgusting and barbaric. Only one local firm is known to have served shark-fin soup, and, then, only occasionally, a city official told council. Having learned of the proposed bylaw, it is believed the firm will stop selling the soup, he said. While fines in Toronto, …   Chinese community, which oppose bans..

“It is a flaunting of wealth.” Marr said shark-fin soup has almost zero nutritional value. Since at least one-third of the estimated 450 shark species are endangered, under international law, to which Canada is a signatory, shark finning is, by and large, illegal, he said. Laws like the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species make it very clear that trade internationally in endangered species like many, if not most, sharks finned is illegal, said Marr. He said any Canadian city allowing the sale of shark-fin soup is likely in violation of Canadian and international law. In BC, Port Moody and Coquitlam have shark-fin bans as do eight Ontario cities and five U.S. states, said Marr.

A growing number of well-respected Asian establishments no longer serve shark-fin soup, including the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Disneyland, the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals in Hong Kong, the government of Malaysia and Taiwan s National Palace Museum, says Humane Society International (HSI). High-profile dignitaries are also saying No to the controversial soup, including current Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, who chose not to serve it at his inaugural banquet.

*     *     *

August 14, 2012

Great News Network

NANAIMO LATEST B.C. CITY TO BAN SHARK FIN

“Nanaimo is in a very strategic position to lead Vancouver Island in this charge.”  – activist Anthony Marr

B.C.’s anti-shark fin movement is gaining momentum as Nanaimo becomes the newest municipality to become fin-free.

Nanaimo city council voted unanimously to ban the trade, sale or distribution of shark fin Monday night.

“Nanaimo is in a very strategic position to lead Vancouver Island in this charge,” anti-shark fin activist Anthony Marr told council.

Scientists estimate about 73 million sharks are hunted annually for their fins. Shark finning involves slicing off the fins while the shark is still alive and then dumping the body back into the water.

The practice is banned in Canada, but there is no federal or provincial law banning the shark fin trade, leaving municipalities to decide on their own whether to outlaw the delicacy.

The problem is, said Marr, by the time shark fin arrives in Canada, processed and packaged, there is no way of knowing its origins, whether it was harvested from an endangered shark species, or whether it was harvested in Canadian waters.

*     *     *

August 18, 2012
CTV News

By Sonja Puzic

SHARK FIN BANS ACROSS CANADA PRAISED AND CHALLENGED

When Kerry Jang got married 18 years ago, his wedding guests dined on shark fin soup, a traditional Chinese delicacy his family served for generations to mark special occasions.

Now, the Vancouver city councillor is spearheading efforts to remove the pricey item from restaurant menus and banquets.

Jang is proposing that Vancouver and its neighbouring municipalities, Richmond and Burnaby, simultaneously introduce a shark fin ban, joining Canadian cities like Toronto and Nanaimo, B.C., and several U.S. states, including California, Oregon and Hawaii.

Shark fin soup, a symbol of wealth and prestige in Chinese culture for centuries, has in recent years become more synonymous with controversial fishing practices blamed for a worldwide shark population decline.

Environmental scientists and wildlife groups have been calling for an end to shark finning, which involves slicing off the fins of captured sharks before tossing them back in the water. One group of researchers determined that between 26 and 73 million sharks were killed yearly from 1996 to 2000.

Increased awareness of endangered shark species has prompted some countries, including Honduras and the Bahamas, to ban commercial shark fishing altogether.

In recent years, numerous local and state bans on shark fin products have been introduced in parts of North America, and even China has declared it will stop serving shark fin soup at official banquets over the next three years.

“It’s the perfect time to strike,” Jang said in an interview with CTVNews.ca this week.

“We’ve always advocated for a regional ban. The three cities, Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby, all have restaurants that serve shark products,” he said. “If we’re going to make this thing effective, we’re going to have to do it simultaneously because it’s too easy to drive across one bridge to get (shark fin soup) in Richmond.”

Jang said he will introduce a motion at a Vancouver city council meeting next month to formalize talks between the municipalities and study the most effective ways of implementing a shark fin ban.

But despite a global shark conservation movement, local shark fin bans are being met with resistance. The City of Toronto is facing a lawsuit over its ban on possession, sale and consumption of shark fin products, and there are talks of possible anti-ban demonstrations in the Vancouver area.

Jang said he’s received just “a little pushback” from the community, save for some vocal opponents.

“It really seems to be a generational issue,” Jang said. “The younger generations are clearly opting out — they have no interest in (shark fin soup). It’s more for the older folks who are insisting on it to prove wealth or to impress guests for business deals and things like that.”

A bowl of shark fin soup can cost as much as $200, depending on the amount and type of fin used. Shark fin itself is relatively tasteless. It serves to provide texture, while other ingredients in the soup bring out its unique flavour.

“I think people all secretly agree on a ban, but they are a little scared of their elders,” Jang said.

David Chung, a Richmond restaurant owner and president of the B.C. Asian Restaurant and Cafe Owners’ Association, said the proposed ban is based on “misconceptions” about Chinese culture and area politicians’ lack of knowledge about global shark consumption.

The federal government, not municipalities, should be looking at scientific data to determine whether a countrywide shark fin ban is appropriate, Chung said in an interview with CTVNews.ca.

He said shark fin consumption is part of the natural food chain process that actually helps fish populations thrive because it keeps the number of predators in check.

Anthony Marr, of the Vancouver Animal Defence League, said that argument has been disputed by reputable studies showing a link between the culinary use of shark fin and the endangerment of shark species.

“The situation is extremely dire. I would call this a shark emergency,” Marr said.

Canada, which prohibits shark finning, has a heavily regulated shark fishing and trade industry. NDP fisheries critic Fin Donnelly and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May have each introduced private member’s bills that would ban imports and trade of shark fins.

But in the developing world, shark fishing and fin harvesting is a multi-million dollar industry and destroying it would put thousands of people out of jobs, Chung said.

Ultimately, “we should have the right to eat what we want,” he said, adding that councilors who’ve come out in favour of a shark fin ban are “just trying to score political points.”

*     *     *

September 12, 2012

Vancouver Sun

by Larry Pynn

VANCOUVER CITY COUNCIL TO DEBATE BAN ON SHARK FINS

The tide of shark conservation is continuing to wash over Metro Vancouver – one municipality at a time.

The City of Vancouver will become the latest jurisdiction to weigh in on the growing international issue when it debates a motion Tuesday related to a ban on the sale of shark fins.

“The tide is actually becoming a tsunami,” said Anthony Marr of the Vancouver Animal Defence League, who has given presentations to several local municipalities on the issue. “A lot of things are happening. The Lower Mainland is going for it.” Shark-fin soup is served strictly as a status symbol in the Chinese community and is often associated with wedding banquets. The fin is cartilage and provides no flavour.

The forthcoming motion, pro-posed by Coun. Kerry Jang and seconded by Raymond Louie, asks staff to work with Richmond and Burnaby to “develop a common approach to ban the sale of shark fin” in the three cities. Both councillors are of Chinese descent.

The preamble to their motion describes shark finning as an “inhumane practice” in which the fins are hacked off and the rest of the shark dumped alive into the ocean. It says that every year up to 73 million sharks are killed “primarily for their fins, threatening one-third of open ocean sharks with extinction” and notes that the Chinese government has announced the phasing out of serving shark fins at official celebratory banquets within three years.

Nick Dulvy, an international shark expert at Simon Fraser University, suggests the number is closer to 38 million sharks, which is “still a lot of dead animals.”

On Tuesday this week, two more Metro Vancouver municipalities added their voice to the shark-protection movement.

North Vancouver City banned the “possession, sale, and distribution of shark fin” after receipt of a staff report saying that “shark fin soup is symbolic of wealth, power, prestige and honour. Serving this dish is a show by the host of their respect and honour of their guests.

“The dish is saved for special occasions such as weddings and banquets, and can fetch as much as $100 per plate.”

Maple Ridge council voted to ask staff to draft a bylaw amendment that would ban the trade, sale and distribution of shark fins.

Elsewhere in B.C.:

* Feb. 29, Victoria city council urged the Prime Minister and opposition leaders to pass Bill C-380, a private member’s bill that would ban the importation of shark fins.

* May 14, Coquitlam council approved a “ban on the pos-session, trade, sale and distribution of shark fins or their derivative products and that staff provide a report on how to proceed with such an initiative especially focusing on the issue of compliance.”

* May 22, Port Moody council voted to ban the “trade, sale or distribution of shark fin products” and to draft a resolution to the Union of B.C. Municipalities requesting that the “provincial government adopt provincial legislation on this topic.”

* Oct. 1, Nanaimo council will vote on a motion to adopt a bylaw supporting a “ban on the trade, sale or distribution of shark fins or their derivative.” A staff report said only one establishment could be found serving the soup, “and the owner of this restaurant is not against a ban of shark fins, as the soup is not that popular, mainly because of the cost associated with it.”

*     *     *

CATHAY PACIFIC TO STOP CARRYING FIN CARGO

Cathay Pacific has announced it will stop carrying shark fins as cargo, saying: “Due to the vulnerable nature of sharks, their rapidly declining population, and the impacts of overfishing for their parts and products, our carriage of these is inconsistent with our commitment to sustainable development.”

Cathay is the biggest airline in the southern Chinese city of Hong Kong, which is estimated to account for about half of the global trade in shark fins.

The airline’s decision comes after it received a letter in July from 40 environmental and humane groups. Citing government statistics, they said more than 10,200 metric tons of shark fin were imported into Hong Kong last year, 13 per cent of that by air cargo, Associated Press reported.

In September 2011, B.C.’s hook-and-line spiny dogfish fishery became the first shark fishery in the world to be deemed sustainable according to the Marine Stewardship Council, based in London, England.

Larry Pynn,

Vancouver Sun

*     *     *

September 26, 2012

Langley Times

ANIMAL ACTIVIST CALLS FOR BAN ON SHARK FIN IN CITY

“A cruel and ecologically unsound harvest (that is) tantamount to an alien abducting you, cutting off your limbs and dumping you back into a parking lot.”

That’s how Anthony Marr from the Vancouver Animal Defense League described the process of shark finning to Langley City Council on Sept. 17.

Marr appeared before council at its regular meeting, urging them to follow the lead of a number of Lower Mainland municipalities, including nearby Maple Ridge, which have, or are in the process of enacting bylaws to prohibit the sale of shark fins within municipal boundaries.

The type of business affected by such a law would largely be Chinese restaurants, which frequently offer shark fin soup on their banquet menus, explained Marr.

Shark fin soup is considered a status symbol because of the high price the fins demand — $700 to $800 per pound — he explained. It’s the same reason that many breeds of sharks are in danger of being fished to extinction — because there is a huge profit to be made.

“They’re not nutritious, they’re not delicious,” Marr said.

The only quality the fins add to food is texture — which is similar to vermicelli, he explained.

“I would suggest if you like that, eat vermicelli.”

Marr, a Chinese Canadian, was joined by about 20 people who held a protest outside City Hall prior to Monday’s meeting.

He told council that members of the group had done a bit of reconnaissance work in the two Langleys – city and municipality – and found “two or three” restaurants in each municipality with shark fin on their menus.

Asked why he is approaching municipalities with what is essentially a federal issue (fisheries) Marr explained that things happen more quickly at a municipal level than they do at a provincial or federal level.

“The federal government works very slowly and sharks are being killed at (a rate of) up to 100 million per year.

“A municipal ban is the fastest way — the City has the power to enforce it by revoking a business licence.”

And time, he said, is something the animals don’t have, because sharks are slow to reproduce, giving birth to only two or three young every two or three years.

Of the 450 species of sharks, one third are endangered or threatened, but there is no way to determine from which species of shark a fin has come, short of a DNA sample.

Councillor Gayle Martin told Marr she wasn’t aware of any Chinese restaurants with banquet halls inside City boundaries.

“I only care if it’s happening in Langley City,” she said.

Several weeks earlier, Councillor Rosemary Wallace had asked staff to look into the implications of a shark fin ban, saying it is a global responsibility, not just a municipal one.

City staff will return with a report.

 

Comments:

 

Marilyn Heyber

But Councilwoman, if shark fins are not currently on the menu in Langley City, without a ban it leaves an open invitation. Global responsibilities have to start somewhere & it all comes down to people in governing positions. Municipalities make up a nation & nations make up the global community.
Laura Brown

Please have the courage to make a stand…

——

Paul Crooks, Sydney, Australia

Mr. Marr’s efforts – his contribution to wider society at local levels – are to be congratulated and admired. The shark finning issue stems predominantly from illegal fishing operations and subsequent and additional industry and administration corruption – only second to illicit drugs -would you allow that in your municipality? Remaining neutral on the issue merely supports the issue – you either support illegal activity, or you stand up to it.

Shark fins belong on sharks, not in a corrupted bowl of soup… Go fin free Langley, BC!

*     *     *

October 3, 2012

Langley Times

by Natasha Jones

LANGLEY TOWNSHIP BACKS SHARK FIN BAN

Graphic details about how the fins of sharks are harvested appear to have been enough to convince Township council to reverse its decision to ban the sale of the fish delicacy.

Last month, council turned down a proposal from Councillor Charlie Fox calling for a report on harmonizing the Township’s stand with that of other jurisdictions that ban shark fins and related products.

On Monday, after hearing from Anthony Marr, spokesman for the Vancouver Island Animal Defense League, council voted 8-1 to back Fox’s motion.

Marr said that after their fins are cut, the sharks, still living, are tossed back into the sea.

Though tasteless, shark fins are highly prized for their texture.

They fetch significantly more on the market than meat from the rest of the fish.

Meat is about 70 cents a pound, and the fins about $700 per pound, Marr said.

Not only is shark finning cruel, at the rate it is proceeding it is endangering the species, he said. Of 450 species, one-third are endangered.

He noted too, that sharks are extremely slow to reproduce. While most fish spawn thousands of eggs a year, sharks give birth to only two to four pups every two to four years.

“If we delay, even for one year, we will lose 100 million sharks,” Marr said.

“It is totally unsustainable,” Marr told council.

Langley has two restaurants that serve shark fin soup, he said.

The motion supporting a ban passed with only Councillor Grant Ward opposed.

Two weeks ago, he remarked that “This is none of our business.”

Ward added that a ban “could hurt the fishing industry that is under proper management” all over the world.

Marr, however, indicated that continuing killing sharks for their fins will do more than that.

In a later comment, he noted that if sharks are wiped out, medium size fish on which they now prey would proliferate, over-prey on small fish “and the entire oceanic ecosystem could collapse.”

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October 12, 2012

Richmond Review

by Matthew Hoekstra

RICHMOND M.P. ALICE WONG SWIMS INTO SHARK FIN DEBATE BY SLURPING SOUP

Richmond MP Alice Wong waded into the shark fin soup debate Thursday by sitting down to a bowl of the delicacy at The Jade Seafood Restaurant.

Wong appeared at an afternoon press conference in Richmond for Chinese media to back the B.C. Asian Restaurant and Cafe Owners Association’s position to keep shark fin soup on menus.

The two-term Conservative MP has been silent on the issue until now.

“The whole thing has become so political now,” she told The Richmond Review. “I’ve got so many phone calls from constituents who want me to clarify the facts.”

She said Canada already bans the practice of shark finning—when a harvester removes fins from a shark and discards the rest of the animal at sea.

“In Canada that is illegal. But we have no intention of making shark fin soup illegal.”

Wong said Canada only allows shark fin imports if there’s evidence the products have been harvested legally.

As for her own tastes, Wong said she “likes” shark fin soup, but said “we don’t always eat it.”

“It’s people’s choice. If people like to eat it, they do. If people decide not to, fine. But banning it? This is not the federal government’s decision,” she said. “The product is imported legally, from a legal source, so there’s no basis for us to ban it.”

Wong’s appearance infuriated Marley Daviduk of the Vancouver Animal Defense League.

“I’m absolutely furious that a member of Parliament would address only the Chinese media,” said Daviduk. “Richmond is a multicultural city, as is Canada. It is her job to address everyone.”

Wong’s director of communications, Robert Lynch, said he’s “trying to get to the bottom” of why other media weren’t invited to the press conference.

Daviduk said just because the practice of shark finning is banned in Canada, 450 kilograms of shark fin were imported into Vancouver on Thursday alone. So far this year, more than 71,000 kilograms have been imported, and Daviduk said it’s impossible to determine what fins have been harvested legally.

“Sharks are hunted all over the world, a lot of it by poachers…and by the time they get to Canada, they’re just a dried fin. Nobody knows where they came from, who hunted them—there’s no way to prove it.”

Daviduk said there’s “no such thing as sustainably harvesting a species that’s 90 per cent gone.”

“Canada is a hotspot for this and it needs to be dealt with—on a federal level, on a provincial level, and if neither of those governments do something, then we have to do something on a municipal level.”

In August Daviduk confronted the owner of The Jade restaurant, David Chung, challenging his decision to keep shark fin soup on his menu.

Chung, who is president of the B.C. Asian Restaurant and Cafe Owners Association, was asked to provide fin samples to test for endangered species. He declined.

Chung has been a vocal opponent of a fin ban—something the City of Richmond is currently studying. The restaurateur maintains that few shark species are facing extinction, and the Chinese tradition of eating shark fin soup is one he doesn’t want to break.

While Richmond studies a possible ban on shark fin, other cities have enacted bylaws to outlaw the product, including Toronto.

Animal activists say fins are cruelly harvested and many shark species have been put at risk of extinction.

*     *     *

To the Editor, Richmond News and Richmond Review:

Dear Editor,

I have in mind to challenge Richmond MP Alice Wong, plus councillor Chak Au and restaurateur David Chung, if they so wish, or dare, to a public debate in a public venue in Richmond some time in early November, at a time of their convenience.

I am writing to see if you, and/or the editor of the other Richmond newspaper, or one or more assigned reporter(s) would be interested to serve as facilitator(s)/moderator(s) of this debate.

This is extra work for you for sure, but I promise to make it worth your while, and to give your newspaper(s) some memorable verbal firework to report on.

Sincerely,

Anthony Marr
The Vancouver Animal Defense League

*     *    *

Anthony Marr’s LTE:

“Speaking as a Chinese Canadian, I find all Chinese people opposed to banning shark fins a disgrace. They think that they are standing up for Chinese rights and tradition, but in fact, what they are standing up for are their own votes, popularity, ego and profit. What they are in fact doing is trashing the Chinese reputation in Richmond, BC, Canada and worldwide. I am ashamed to be associated with them by race and culture, and I believe that I stand for the large majority of Chinese Canadians who want the atrocity of shark-finning, shark-fin consumption and the shark fin trade banned. A recent San Francisco poll found that 70% of Chinese San Franciscans are in favour of the California shark fin ban. Species like the Great White shark is 79% gone, the Tiger shark 97% gone, the Scalloped Hammerhead shark 97% gone and the Smooth Hammerhead shark 99% gone, to name just a few. If due to the continuation of shark-fin consumption some of these species are driven to extinction, the Chinese reputation would be forever mud, and I will hold them personally responsible. And I will consider the entire Richmond council a coward if it bows to their hideous displays of self-centredness and ignorance.”

*     *     *

October 22, 2012

 

Shark Fin Freedom

UPDATE FROM OUR LOCAL HERO ANTHONY MARR

New development on:

ANTHONY MARR PROPOSES TO PUBLICLY DEBATE ALICE WONG AND DAVID CHUNG ON SHARK-FIN-BAN

I just received an email from Alan Campbell of Richmond News as follows: “Hi, Anthony, (Richmond anti-ban councillor) Chak Au has agreed to take part in a public forum, but not in a debate, when he comes back into the country after Nov. 3 (?) We’re waiting on a reply from Alice Wong’s office. Let me know what you think. – Alan Campbell, Richmond News”

My reply: “Hi Alan, Thank you! I didn’t think my proposal could even go this far! I’m in! I doubt Alice Wong would take the bait though, so to speak, but maybe there is a way to make her lose face” if she doesn’t step up to the plate. As far as I’m concerned, a public forum is as good as a debate, so I’m looking forward to it! Please keep me informed. – Anthony”

I’ll keep you informed on further developments. Note to those unfamiliar: Richmond BC is of crucial importance in this fight, since it is the centre of the Chinese population in British Columbia.

*     *     *

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Langley Advanced

by Heather Colpitts

LANGLEY CITY BANS SHARK FINS

Langley City Councillor Rosemary Wallace brought the issue of shark fin harvesting to the council table.

Monday evening council meeting wrapped up with a unanimous vote to ban the sale, purchase and consumption of shark fin and related products or derivatives.

Council has been grappling with the issue in recent weeks as more and more communities and groups voice an opinion.

Weeks ago Councillor Rosemary Wallace had asked the rest of council to look at a ban because the harvest of shark fins is cruel. She explained that the animals’ fins are cut off and the rest of the animal is tossed back in the water to die.

At the recent Union of B.C. Municipalities conference, delegates voted to ask the province and federal governments for bans.

Langley Township recently went through the same debate before agreeing to a ban.

There are a couple of restaurants in the Township with shark fin soup on the menu but no restaurants were found to be serving it in the City.

“If we have a bylaw and somebody violates it, are we going to enforce it?” asked City Coun. Gayle Martin.

She was concerned about each municipality “doing its own thing” when fisheries are a federal and provincial responsibility.

The City won’t be sending out staff to deal with incident. But council decided it wanted its opposition to shark finning on the record in the form of a bylaw in case anyone from other communities that have brought in bans thinks about moving here.

“I think it’s time we don’t waffle around here and stood up,” said Coun. Dave Hall.

He said the danger in waiting for the provincial and federal governments to act on this issue is that they may never. Hall pointed to the long time it’s taken the province to look into the cosmetic pesticide ban issue, where there’s been no changes implemented.

In early September, Anthony Marr from the Vancouver Animal Defense League spoke to both councils.

He said a conservative estimate is that 30 million sharks are killed each year, but others suggest the number is greater than 100 million.

“There is a cruelty and morality issue Canadians have to deal with,” Marr said.

He said there are those arguing to allow shark fin soup and who call opponents racist but allowing the harvest of sharks to continue will “make the Chinese reputation forever mud.”

One third of the 450 shark species are endangered or threatened and an American DNA study found that about 65 per cent of shark fins served in soup were from endangered species, he said.

Marr explained that the rest of the shark has little value compared to the fins (70 cents per pound versus $700 per pound respectively) and fish farming them isn’t feasible.

Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby are working together on policy so there is consistent policy in the neighbouring communities. Maple Ridge, North Vancouver, Port Moody, Coquitlam, Nanaimo, and Abbotsford have bans.

Cathay Pacific Airlines has said it will no longer transport shark fins, and many Hong Kong restaurants are removing it from menus, due to public pressure.

*     *     *

By Ben On March 2, 2013 

VANCOUVER, BURNABY, RICHMOND ARE SUPPORTING SHEARK FINNING?!

BOOOOOOOOO!!! Shame on you Vancouver, Burnaby and Richmond!!!

I was born in Burnaby and thanks to SharkTruth.com I just read that Burnaby will not ban shark finsVancouver and Richmond also do not ban shark fins.

WHAT?!? This makes me so sad and so mad. Boo! Boo! Boo!

Anthony Marr from the Vancouver Animal Defence League says sharks will probably be gone by 2017 if we (and I mean ALL of us humans) don’t ban shark finning NOW!

I am only 10 years old. That means by the time I am 14 I may never get to see a shark ever again. I will only read about them. This is so stupid!

I have some questions for Mayor Gregor RobertsonMayor Derek Corrigan, and Mayor Malcolm Brodie:

  • WHY???
  • Why are you helping shark finners?
  • Why can’t you follow cities like Toronto or even our neighbours like Abbotsford and be FIN-FREE?
  • What do kids like me have to do so you grown ups WAKE UP?!?

Mayors, please watch the movie I attached at the top. PLEASE ban shark fins and help save sharks from this sad and cruel treatment. It’s not right!!!

Thank you for reading my post. I hope you do the right thing.

*     *     *

March 6, 2013

Richmond Review

By Matthew Hoekstra

SHARK DECISION SHOWS “LACK OF COURAGE”, SAYS ACTIVIST

City council is satisfying a “tiny minority” by not moving to ban shark fins in Richmond, an activist said Monday.

“Richmond’s response reflects a lack of courage,” said Anthony Marr. “They are catering to only one small entity, which is the B.C. Asian Restaurant and Café Owners Association.”

Marr believes the “vast majority” of Richmond is in favour of a a ban, including those in the Chinese community…

“Every one of the Richmond city councillors will be held responsible, by me anyhow, for not taking action if any of these species become extinct.”

For the city to say there’s no way to enforce a bylaw is a “cop out,” he said, noting Richmond holds the power to pull a business license for violations…

*     *     *

We can look at this campaign as a battle within the Chinese community. On the ban-side are Vancouver councillors Kerry Jang and Raymond Louie, and VADL, including myself; on the anti-ban side are Richmond councillor Chak Au and MP Alice Wong, and ARCOA (Asian Restaurant and Café Owners Association), including David Chung. We can let the politicians cancel each other, and that leaves VADL and ARCOA. VADL stands for principle; ARCOA stands for money. Sadly, we live in a society where principle holds a sign, and money talks. We can narrow down the two sides further to the two spokespersons, and that is David Chung on the anti-ban side, and I on the ban side. This conjures the word “debate”. I might just re-open this war with a challenge. Stay tuned.

 

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