As apex predators, sharks are at the top of the marine ecosystem, meaning that they play a crucial role in maintaining population balance and the health of the ocean. Live sharks are also an important tourist draw in many parts of the world.
Without sharks, our oceans and our planet would change profoundly for the worse.
Despite their importance to our planet, shark populations are in sharp decline due to overfishing; many species of sharks are near extinction.
For the most part, this is due to the demand for shark fin soup and other shark fin products which are believed by some cultures to have health benefits and healing powers, most of which are based on myth and have never been proven. These products sell for extremely high prices.
This is facilitated by a public misconception of sharks as monsters. Were they cuddly and furry creatures, the public would not for a moment tolerate what is being done to them.
The method by which shark fins are “cultivated” is barbaric and inhumane: live sharks are caught and have their fins sliced off. They are then dropped back into the ocean to die, as they require constant movement to breathe and cannot do so without fins.
While most developed countries ban this practice, there are many countries that have not yet done so because the industry brings in too much money. Furthermore, even where this practice is illegal, it still continues.
As long the financial rewards provide an incentive, the practice of shark finning will continue, whether legally or illegally.
Therefore, we must reduce the demand for shark fin products, which in turn will take away the financial incentives to continue the practice of shark finning.
We must act now to ban the sale of shark fin products in Montreal and work to ban the import of shark fin products into Canada.
Many other leading countries and cities in the world have already adopted such legislation, including most recently Toronto and Mississauga.
Please join us in asking Montréal’s decision makers to adopt a ban on shark fin products.