A Pitt Meadows councillor was moved to tears over the plight of sharks during Tuesday night’s council-in-committee meeting.
Councillor Janis Elkerton broke down in sobs after the Vancouver Animal Defense League made an appeal to the City of Pitt Meadows to ban shark fins and used recently released data to prove his point.
“I see shark finning tantamount to trophy hunting. It is incredible the way the fish suffer when they are dropped back in [the water], the emotional councillor said.
“I understand Coun. Elkerton’s passion and I, too, have seen the horrific videos,” said Mayor Deb Walters.
“I’m very much in support of the motion being put forward... We stand behind you and your research,” she elaborated, just before a unanimous council declared their intent to ban shark fins in Pitt Meadows.
Anthony Marr, spokesperson for the league, told council how his group randomly purchased shark fin samples from Vancouver and Richmond, and submitted them to the University of Guelph.
The results from DNA analysis showed that, of 59 viable samples tested, 86 per cent were from endangered and threatened species of shark, including the critically endangered great hammerhead.
“This is in direct violation of the Canadian law which specifically forbids any endangered species trade within the country,” Marr said.
“So far, each and every one of the municipalities to which we have made presentations since June have given the green light, except the main prize Richmond,” he explained.
Richmond is “hemming and hawing” because of restaurant owners and politicians who benefit, Marr claimed.
“I’m a Chinese person myself, so I have no problem saying that,” he added. “Some Chinese people are claiming to protect the Chinese culture. Their actions are shameful,” the environmental activist said.
After the presentation, several activists from the Vancouver Animal Defense League Sea Shepherd gathered in an adjoining room.
“Sharks are being slaughtered at an alarming rate on a global scale, and they are running out of time,” said Surrey’s Darren Sacher.
“The sharks don’t have the time to wait for our federal government to stand up for what is right, and I’m proud of our municipalities for stepping up and doing what they can while we fight for a federal ban,” he added.
“I’m worried that by the time it is decided that something needs to be done it will be too late,” said Richmond’s Stephanie Chevrier, also a member of VADL. “Ever since I was a little girl I have loved the ocean, and once I learned about shark finning I knew I had to get involved,” Chevrier explained.
“I love this earth that gave us life and all the creatures we share it with. We are all apart of this delicate ecosystem and we owe it our respect,” she added.
“We have been working extremely hard to get shark fin out of restaurants and banned in Canada,” said Delta’s Jen Baotic.
“We’ve been working on this campaign for months. We’ve been doing weekly protests at Fortune Garden restaurant in Vancouver – specifically them because not only do they serve shark fin soup, but they serve tiger shark, which is a critically endangered species,” added Baotic.