Toronto passes its shark-fin soup ban!  »

Want to know why that shark’s smiling?

In June I wrote a Vegansaurus post about a motion tabled before Toronto’s city council to ban the sale, possession, and consumption of shark fin soup in the city. I’m stoked to report that after a 38-4 city council vote yesterday, shark fin soup is now banned in Toronto. Woo!

The bylaw will take effect in September 2012; fines for the possession and use of shark-fin products will range from $5,000 to $100,000.

For a while it looked like the ban might not happen, when Mayor Rob Ford and a few other councillors argued that it was outside the city’s jurisdiction and instead a matter that lay with provincial authority. I suspect that similar bans in other cities helped make this happen.

It’s important to note, though, that another key factor in getting the ban through was the work of local activists. The Toronto Vegetarian Association did a lot to get the word out, as did groups like WildAid, United Conservationists, and Toronto Loves Sharks. Sharkwater director Rob Stewart also threw his support behind the ban and was on hand for today’s vote.

"Toronto’s action is a huge victory in the global fight against and illegal shark fin trade valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars," said Rob Sinclair, WildAid’s executive director.

Goes to show that groups of local people really can create change! I’m happy to live in Toronto today.

[photo by hunxue-er via Flickr]

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