Shark fin soup isn’t likely to be on any Sackville restaurants’ menus anytime soon.
Town council has put its support behind a group of Mount Allison University students who are advocating for shark fin free suppers in the community as part of an effort to initiate a province-wide ban on the ‘Asian delicacy.’
Alexandra Ross, one of the students involved in the project for her third-year activism class, said even though shark fin soup is not currently sold in any Sackville-area restaurants, council’s support is still invaluable toward the cause.
“Other towns and cities (in Canada and the US) have banned the use of shark-fin products but no one in New Brunswick has taken that step yet,” said Ross during a presentation to members of town council at their monthly meeting Jan. 14. She said a motion or resolution from council would be more of a ‘symbolic gesture’ to add their voices to those opposed to the shark fin trade, which kills up to 70 million sharks each year.
Ross pointed out that being the first community in all of Atlantic Canada to implement such a resolution “will demonstrate the forward thinking Sackville is known for.”
The councillors did pass a resolution later that evening, indicating they were in support of the students’ efforts to ban the trade and distribution of shark fins for their derivative products. The resolution also stated that council will encourage businesses in Sackville to do the same.
Coun. Bill Evans said he was pleased to be able to support the efforts of the student group as he hopes the resolution will, in some way, help stop the “disgraceful practice” of finning.
Ross said on-deck finning involves fishers cutting off the shark’s fins and throwing its still living body back into the sea. The sharks either starve to death, are eaten alive by other fish, or drown. She explained that the shark fins are being harvested in growing numbers to feed the increasing demand for shark fin soup, a delicacy that has been described by many as a ‘tasteless’ Chinese soup that is often served at events such as weddings or government meetings.
“This strikes me as something that has no redeeming qualities,” said Evans.
Coun. Bruce Phinney agreed, noting that finning is a “deplorable” practice and he hopes council’s resolution will spur other communities to act on this issue.
Coun. Ron Corbett said, if anything, the resolution will bring the topic to the forefront.
“I don’t see it being a frivolous motion. And I don’t think it hurts us at all to stand up as a town.”
For more on the student’s efforts, check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SharkFreeSuppers, where residents are welcome to sign a petition that has already garnered more than 600 supporters.