MP Weston explains opposition to Fin Donnelly's shark bill

Dear Editor:

In response to Michele Davies' March 28 letter, Ask Your MP to Vote for Bill Banning Shark Fin Import, regarding Bill C-380, I congratulate Fin Donnelly for raising awareness of an important issue in the sustainability of fisheries. I admire MPs who force important public debate about such issues.

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I agree that the practice of shark finning - cutting the fins off a shark and discarding the animal back into the ocean - is unsustainable and inhumane. However, I did not support the bill for a variety of reasons.

Firstly, the bill was inherently flawed, as it seeks to amend a repealed act (the Fish Inspection Act). The new Safe Food for Canadians Act consolidates and modernizes existing laws, making them simpler and more consistent since late October 2012.

Secondly, including a shark finning ban in the Fisheries Act would be redundant, as an effective ban is already in place since 1994. It is currently enforced via license conditions under the Fisheries Act.

Thirdly, Bill C-380 had no material impact since we already have rigorous mechanisms in place to prevent this unsustainable practice in Canada.

Lastly, the proposed changes in Bill C-380 did not advance our efforts on combatting shark finning globally.

In addition, within the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, trade regulation is currently applied to white, basking and whale sharks. Similar protection for five more species: Porbeagle, Oceanic Whitetip and Great, Scalloped, and Smooth Hammerhead sharks will come into force in 2014.

John Weston, MP West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country

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