Thursday, June 16, 2011

Support Fin Free Toronto

Sharks are one of my favourite animals (I even went diving/swimming with them on my honeymoon) so it won't surprise you that I’m passionately against shark finning.

Shark finning is a horrific act that involves fishing for sharks (generally using techniques that create a lot of by-catch), hacking their fins off and then throwing the still-living animals back into the water where they slowly drowning (a shark needs to swim in order to breath). The fins are then used to make shark fin soup, a dish quite popular in some parts of the Chinese community despite its tastelessness and potential health risks (shark meat is often high in heavy metals and other toxins).

While the act of shark finning is no doubt barbaric, it’s the scale at which it’s conducted that’s the real problem.  Shark finning is believed to be the primary reason why shark numbers have dropped drastically over the past few decades, with some scientists saying that there’s been a 90% decline in shark numbers. It’s more than possible that several species of large sharks will go extinct in our lifetime, something that would really screw up the ocean’s ecosystem (and it’s already pretty screwed up).

The reason why I’m bringing this all up is because a pair of Toronto city councillors is trying to ban shark fin soup in Toronto and to draw attention to their cause they’ve launched Celebrate Sharks, “a city-wide summer educational campaign to raise awareness of the plight of sharks.” The main goal of this campaign is to get 10,000 people to sign an anti-shark fin soup petition.

That petition can be found here and I encourage you to sign it. You can also read up more about this cause at the Fin Free Toronto website and “Like” its Facebook page here.

And to learn more about shark finning, and sharks in general, watch the amazing documentary Sharkwater.

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