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Activism for Shark Fin Free Calgary

by Matt Hanson

Shark Fin Business in Calgary
Shark Fin Business in Calgary
Shark Fin Is Still on the Menu
Shark Fin Is Still on the Menu


On Monday, October 15, Calgary City Council heard a by-law banning possession, sale and consumption of shark fin in Calgary. 

After attending Rob Stewart's (documentary filmmaker who made SharkWater) lecture at the Calgary Public Library, I was fired to get out and do something. 

In brief, the human appetite for shark fins around the world has pushed sharks to near extinction. Sharks are responsible for maintaining one of the most important balances in the food chain of our planet's oceans, as they have survived many of prehistory's great extinctions. If sharks become extinct, this could break the camel's back for the future of human survival on the planet, where the oceans will reach high acidity levels without sharks to eat fish which eat oxygen-giving sea plants. Simply, without sharks, the littler fish will run amuck, eating all the oxygen in the ocean, and pressing acidity levels off the scale, a process responsible for most of the major extinctions in the past. 

It will be another two readings until a final decision is made. The second and third readings are scheduled to be held in late January 2013. In the meantime, City Council will meet with local business owners and community leaders to raise awareness about the ban. This is Calgary's way of maintaining the peace in seeing that the by-law is passed without suprise enforcement and unwanted repercussions. 

If the by-law sees the light of day, on July 1 2013, any and all Calgary-based individuals and business infringing on this by-law will see financial penalty. Shark Fin Free Calgary discourages any petitioning and/or demonstrating in front of business currently selling shark fins. Activists at Shark Fin Free Calgary are keeping their fingers crossed.

There is currently a running list of businesses which are being kept confidential until the July 1 2013 date, when activists will have legal leverage. As Ingrid Kuenzel says, "We are able to begin stroking some business's off our list already as some begin to remove fin's from their menus. As tribute to the positive and educational way we consciously ran our campaign."

I have added two business to the list, both are on my block. One of them openly sold a container of fins for nearly $400 a pound.

Will the by-law fine be enough to stop the sale of this lucrative and dangerous business, with now a burgeoning black market and unregulated waters? 

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