Ban the Shark Fin Trade in Canada

Sharks are essential to the health of our oceans. As apex predators, sharks maintain a critical balance in the ocean. When sharks are eliminated, disastrous effects can happen further down the food chain, including the collapse of commercial fisheries and degradation of coral reefs. Ecosystems with healthy shark populations have higher numbers of fish.

The shark fin trade is decimating shark populations worldwide. Shark fin soup is a luxury that is responsible for tens of millions of sharks being killed every year. While sharks are essential, this soup is not.

A third of shark species are threatened with extinction. Some populations have plummeted by over 90%. Sharks cannot easily recover from overfishing because they reproduce slowly, taking years to mature and producing few offspring.

Join Shark Savers and the growing movement to Ban The Fin!

(To sign the U.S. version of the petition, click here.)

References:
* Global estimates of shark catches using trade records from commercial markets, Shelley C. Clarke, Murdoch K. McAllister, E. J. Milner-Gulland, G. P. Kirkwood, Catherine G. J. Michielsens, David J. Agnew, Ellen K. Pikitch, Hideki Nakano and Mahmood S. Shivji, Ecology Letters, (2006) 9: 1115-1126
* Third of open ocean sharks threatened with extinction, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Shark Specialist Group, June 2009
* Cascading top-down effects of changing oceanic predator abundances. Journal of Animal Ecology. Vol. 78. p. 699. Baum & Worm. 2009.
* Collapse and Conservation of Shark Populations in the Northwest Atlantic, Science, Volume 299, Julia K. Baum, Ransom A. Myers, Daniel G. Kehler, Boris Worm, Shelton J. Harley, Penny A. Doherty, 2003.
* Life Histories and Vulnerability to Exploitation of Elasmobranchs: Inferences from Elasticity, Perturbation and Phylogenetic Analyses -- Frisk et al. 2005
* Cascading Effects of the Loss of Apex Predatory Sharks from a Coastal Ocean. Ransom A. Myers, et al. Science 315, 1846 (2007).
* Research Shows Overfishing of Sharks Key Factor in Coral Reef Decline, Scripps News April 11, 2005
* The effects of fishing on sharks, rays, and chimaeras (chondrichthyans), and the implications for marine ecosystems, -ICES Journal of Marine Science, 57: 476-494.See p. 488 for the tuna reference. Stevens, J. D., Bonfil, R., Dulvy, N. K., and Walker, P. A. 2000
* The effects of fishing on sharks, rays, and chimaeras (chondrichthyans), and the implications for marine ecosystems, ICES Journal of Marine Science, 57: 476-494.See p. 488 for the tuna reference. Stevens, J. D., Bonfil, R., Dulvy, N. K., and Walker, P. A. 2000
* High apex predator biomass on remote Pacific islands, Charlotte Stevenson, Laure S. Katz, Fiorenza Micheli, Barbara Block, Kimberly W. Heiman, Chris Perle, Kevin Weng, Robert Dunbar, Jan Witting

Dear Premier,

Please ban the sale, trade, possession and distribution of shark fins in our province.

Shark conservation is vital for healthy oceans. As apex predators, sharks are critically important to ocean balance. Recent studies indicate that regional elimination of sharks can have disastrous effects further down the food chain including fisheries collapse and negatively impacted reefs.

The shark fin trade is decimating shark populations worldwide. Sharks face an urgent threat: relentless over-fishing to feed demand for their highly valuable fins. Scientists estimate that up to 73 million sharks are killed each year for the shark fin trade. The International Union for the Conservation Nature (IUCN) states that approximately 1/3 of all shark species are on the path to extinction. With demand exceeding supply, coupled with their slow reproduction, many shark populations are quickly disappearing from our oceans.

A shark fin trade bans in our province will address global and local issues of sustainability and ocean health. The federal ban on shark finning in Canadian waters is a positive step in ocean resources management but does not address the on-going global decimation of shark populations in international waters. A shark fin trade bin will enable our province to cease being a participant in the worldwide elimination of sharks by stopping shark fin consumption and distribution in our province.

We, the under-signed residents, request that you work to ban the sale, trade, possession and distribution of shark fins here. We would like to join Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, French Polynesia, the Bahamas, and most of Micronesia, the states, territories, and countries that have already banned the shark fin trade to protect the oceans and its sharks.

Thank you.
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