The Canadian Senate just passed Bill S-203 that would ban whale and dolphin captivity and Bill S-238 that would ban the import and export of shark fins in Canada. The next step for these bills is to head to the House of Commons where it has to pass to become law.
Bill S-203 was introduced in December 2015 by Liberal Wilfred Moore (now retired from the senate), and was supported by Green Party Leader Elizabeth May. This bill has deemed it a Criminal offence with a hefty fine of $200,000 for keeping and breeding marine mammals in captivity.
Activists are hoping that eventually all of the marine mammals currently in captivity at Vancouver Aquarium and Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario will be moved to either B.C. or Nova Scotia, and re-situated in an open water sanctuary.
Most MPs supported Bill S-203 including Liberal Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, New Democrat Fin Donnelly and Conservative Michelle Rempel. John Holer, Marineland’s owner asked senators to halt the bill when he testified at a Senate committee last summer. Holer passed away last summer, after testifying.
Bill S-238 was initially sponsored by Conservative Sen. Michael MacDonald and bans the import of shark fins into Canada and exportation from Canada of shark fins not attached to a shark. It was passed unanimously by the Senate Standing Committee on Fisheries. In 1994 the Canadian Government banned shark fining, which is the practice of removing the fins from live sharks and discarding the remainder of the sharks into the sea to perish.
There are no legitimate uses for shark fins which could include medicinal, educational and scientific except for sharkfin soup served in upscale Chinese restaurants and banquets. Shark fin soup allow the hosts to demonstrate their personal wealth and affluence.
Canada is the largest importer of shark fins worldwide, outside of Southeast Asia. In 2017, Canada imported over 170,000 kg of shark fins representing a 60% increase over five years, according to statistics. One kilogram of dried shark fin is worth approximately $805 to $1075 (Cdn). Profit margin is very significant.