The Green Party's Sonia Furstenau has just introduced a bill that, if passed, would ban the sale, distribution and possession of shark fins in British Columbia.
The bill marks the 10-year anniversary of eco-warrior and director Rob Stewart's landmark documentary, Sharkwater, which exposed the danger the shark population and our oceans face due to the shark fin trade.
Shark fin is used for shark fin soup, a delicacy in some parts of the world. But the practice of shark finning is not only cruel, but also wasteful as only the sharks fins are removed. Without its fins, the shark is thrown back into the water where it suffocates from its inability to swim and pull oxygen into its body.
Finning has resulted in a decline in shark populations, leaving them in danger of extinction should the practice continue. Up until his death in January 2017 while filming Sharkwater's sequel, Sharkwater: Extinction, Rob Stewart made it his life's work to save sharks and our oceans.
Humane Society International/Canada's executive director, Rebecca Aldworth, praises the new bill, saying in a statement: "This bill is an important step towards ending Canadian trade in products of shark finning and we ask the BC government to pass it as a matter of urgency. We also call on the Canadian government to take action now to stop the import of shark fins into Canada."
Rob Stewart's parents, Brian and Sandy Stewart, have taken up their son's mission and are working to complete Sharkwater: Extinction. They continue to lend their voices to the fight to save sharks and our oceans and have issued a statement supporting this bill:
"Ten years ago, Sharkwater was released globally and exposed the urgent need for governments to stop the trade in shark fins. Since that time, over a billion sharks have endured a horrific death as a result of this ecologically devastating practice. We are so pleased to support this bill, which would stop shark fin trade in BC, and make BC a provincial leader in marine protection. We also urge the Canadian government to act quickly to ban the import and sale of shark fins. The sharks -- and the ocean ecosystems that depend on them -- do not have another ten years to wait."