Outrage over Ontario Superior Court Judge’s decision to overturn Toronto’s ban on the sale and possession of shark fin
Toronto, Canada, December 1st, 2012 – Fin Free, the coalition of shark conservationists working together to ban the sale, trade and possession of shark fin, urges the Toronto City Council to immediately appeal Justice James Spence’s ruling against Toronto’s ban on shark fin.
On October 25, 2011, the Toronto City Council voted overwhelmingly in support of the bylaw (38-4), following suit with several other municipalities across Ontario and several states in the US. Since then, the Fin Free movement has spread internationally as well as Canada-wide, where similar bans have been adopted or proposed throughout British Columbia and Alberta.
The passage of Toronto’s shark-fin bylaw satisfies two key sections of the City of Toronto Act; including section 8(2)(5) respecting, “[e]conomic, social and environmental well-being of the City”, and section 8(2)(6) respecting, “[h]ealth, safety and well-being of persons”. Despite this, FARGA - an organization developed to fight shark fin bans - alongside four members of the Chinese business community, funded and organized an appeal to strike down Toronto’s bylaw, heard by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on November 5th. Subsequently, Justice James Spence declared Toronto’s ban as invalid based on the City’s perceived lack of power as it pertains to the enforcement of such a bylaw. The four individuals challenging the ban claimed that the bylaw unfairly targets the Chinese Community, which often notes incorrectly that the shark fins are obtained legally and do not come from endangered shark species.
Ocean enthusiasts (scientists, scuba divers, surfers, or simply those with a love for the ocean) have been exposed to information regarding the drastic decline of shark populations and the scientific ramifications of that decline through a number of increasingly visible sources in the past few years. Unsatisfied with limiting our audience, we sought a method to try and go a step further and broaden our reach beyond this market to new people. Our hope is to create this calendar that highlights these fascinating creatures and the institutions that study them, and also to inspire people to become more educated and involved in the movement to save our sharks (and in doing so, save our oceans).
All proceeds from calendar sales will be donated to our Fin Free campaign, a global movement to push and support shark friendly legislation and our Youth Shark Education campaign, which seeks to inform and inspire the next generation of conservationists. All contributions to the cause are greatly appreciated.
If you are a business and are interested in selling our calendars please email: cheryl (at) sharkangels.com for wholesale prices and more details.
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COVER: Mike Ellis, Lemon Sharks, White Sand Ridge, Bahamas
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Sharks kill fewer than 4 humans on average each year, while humans kill an estimated 100 million sharks annually.
Sharks have been honed to perfection, having existed on this planet for over 400 million years.
Sharks play a vital role at the top of the food chain by maintaining balance in the oceans.
* An estimated 73 million sharks are killed each year (that works out to more than 10,000 sharks per hour).
Shark fins are tasteless, and may contain high levels of toxic methyl-mercury.
Only a small number of countries have banned finning - many more need to be encouraged to enact legislation.
Many people assume that because they don’t eat shark fin soup – then they can’t possibly be contributing to the demise of the sharks and rays.
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