By Nina Wu
The Toronto City Council voted this afternoon to adopt a city-wide shark fin ban, making it the largest city in Canada to prohibit the sale of shark fins.
The vote came about after nearly 10,000 people joined an online campaign in support of it, according to Shark Truth, a non-profit group promoting shark education and conservation.
Toronto joins the state of California, which enacted a state-wide shark fin ban that goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2012.
This time, Hawaii was actually the first state out of the gate with a law. Hawaii's law banning the possession, sale or distribution of shark fins in the state went into effect in July of last year.
Oregon and Washington have also enacted a ban on the sale of shark fins.
It's timely, given that we're now paying more attention to the origins of what we eat. We must also care about the sustainability of our seas if we want to continue consuming seafood.
The movement's growing. In August, Food Network has also announced that it will remove all shark recipes from its website and make sure that future content does not highlight shark as an ingredient in future shows.
Susan Stockton of Food Network Kitchens issued a statement saying as a policy, Food Network and Cooking Channel do not incorporate or showcase recipes that involve animals on the endangered species list or the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch list.
Shark finning is a process by which fishermen catch sharks, slice off their fins and tails, then throw them back into the water to die. Up to 73 million sharks are killed through finning every year to meet the demand for shark fin soup. As a result, some shark populations have declined by as much as 90 percent in recent years.
The shark fin bans are necessary in order to preserve the shark species and the health of the ocean ecosystem. Culture is never an excuse.
To start a petition in your area, visit change.org.