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Much discussion and more misconception have occurred recently around the issue of serving shark fins around the world. These activities have resulted in a proposal to ban the possession, sale and consumption of shark fin in various major cities in Canada.

On November 29, Toronto Chinese Business Association (TCBA) received a threatening letter from “Animal Liberation of Canada/USA”, a group that claims to be concerned about wildlife. The letter outlined intent to harm Chinese Canadians through a series of criminal activities, and detailed the manner in which it would be done.

The Fair and Responsible Governance Alliance (FARGA) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization prompt into action due to the most recent by-law enactment against Shark Fin in Toronto and other municipalities. The mission of the Alliance is to monitor, address and take necessary action on unjust, unfair and irresponsible statements, action and policies by all levels of governments and non-government organizations in Canada. We are writing to demonstrate to you why the proposed shark fin ban is unnecessary, and we would like to work with the Federal Government to develop laws regulating and enforcing the importation of strictly LEGAL shark fin.

Before highlighting the support for the Alliance’s position against the proposed legislation, it is important to recognize that, collectively as responsible corporate citizens in Canada, the Alliance and its members are against inhumane treatment of animals and are for the sustainability of the environment. It is also important to accept that, individually as Canadian citizens in this country, opponents of the proposed ban have a right to speak the truth about the shark fin issue especially when this right is being trampled upon through misinformed attacks and intentional neglect by some in the media and our elected officials.

The Alliance believes the Chinese Canadian community, consisted of law abiding citizens, has been proven capable of living in a multicultural society with respect of each others’ culture and follow the well established laws and regulations.

The Alliance is deeply disturbed the special interest groups using emotionally charged tactic rather than working with the existing regulations and policies of the Federal Government and the international community to address their alleged shark depopulation due to shark defining.

The special interest groups’ tactic triggered much emotionally charged debate, remarks and comments with the focus on Chinese Canadian community. Furthermore, the subsequent Toronto and a few other municipalities passing of the anti shark fin by-laws triggered many inappropriate remarks on Chinese Canadians escalated to a letter from the “Animal Liberation of Canada/USA” threatening to poison the Chinese Canadian community’s food items in “Chinatowns” and warning others to stay out of Chinese restaurants. The escalating attack of Chinese Canadian community has been reported by media in Asia.

We believe the threat is triggered by the fact that only the shark fin itself is being made the focus while the rest of the shark is acceptable for consumption as food, cosmetic or pharmaceutical purposes. This emotionally charged shark fin debate which single out the Chinese Canadian community must be stopped.

In order to restore public confidence of food safety and show respect to the Chinese Canadian culture within the Canadian renowned multicultural society while dealing with a few endangered species of the shark, we request that:
  1. all municipal governments under the leadership of the mayors, work with their Councillors, to revert the by-laws they have enacted;

  2. all municipal governments currently being lobbied to implement shark fin banning by-laws must be sensitive to the hurt the Chinese community is going through with this emotionally charged, shark fin focused debate;

  3. the Federal and provincial governments clarify with the municipalities their power, authority and executive limitations in enacting and enforcement of by-laws;

  4. the Federal Government take an active role to work with the international community with a scientific based set of data for the identification and protection of endangered spices while managing the shark fishing, sales and distribution industry;

  5. the Federal Government provides Canadians public facts on shark population and develop action plan in dealing with the prohibition of defining, fishing, distribution, sales and consumption of the few endangered species of shark as defined by the applicable international body;

  6. special interest groups show their respect of existing federal laws and regulations, stop using emotionally charged tactic and misinformation when dealing with their concern on shark depopulation;

  7. special interest group must stop the shark fin focused misinformation campaign and acknowledge only a few species of the shark family is in the internationally endangered list; and

  8. Special interest group must stop the shark fin focus campaign immediately and it has triggered the ever escalating attack and hurt the Chinese Canadian community.

The Alliance condemns the illegal, cruel and despicable practice of “finning”, whereby sharks are removed from the ocean, have their fins cut off and their bodies thrown back into the water, where they drown due to lack of mobility. We would like everyone to be aware that this barbaric act is not acceptable, nor tolerated by any civilized society and that the Alliance would like to remain firm on this position. The Alliance also believes any attempt to ban the sales, possession and consumption of the shark fins from legally harvested means is unfair, unjust and in fact discriminatory.