Vancouver pursues regional ban on shark fins 0
Vancouver Coun. Kerry Jang, who served shark fin soup at his own wedding 19 years ago, put forward the motion to ban the sale of shark fins after calling the practice of slicing off the predators' fins "barbaric." (CARMINE MARINELLI/24 HOURS)
The sale of shark fins in Vancouver could soon get the hook after city council voted in favour Tuesday of pursuing a ban on the traditional Chinese delicacy frequently used in soup.
Vancouver Coun. Kerry Jang, who served shark fin soup at his own wedding 19 years ago, put forward the motion after calling the practice of slicing off the predators' fins "barbaric."
"We want to make sure that what we do doesn't hurt the restaurants (and) that there is actually an alternative for them," he told reporters, noting he recently attended a shark fin soup replacement contest highlighting local products.
He said it's important to educate people of Chinese descent on alternative ways to honour guests at special events despite the fact younger generations no longer have much interest in the traditional fare typically served at weddings.
Jang told 24 hours the ban would be difficult to implement without support from the federal or provincial governments, but said city bylaw officers could dish out fines to restaurants that continue serving the delicacy.
The sale of shark fins is already prohibited in Coquitlam, North Vancouver and Port Moody, while the cities of Burnaby and Richmond are also considering a ban.
Vancouver city staff will now hammer out the details of the proposed ban, which seeks a co-ordinated effort between Richmond and Burnaby so restaurant patrons cannot travel from one city to another in search of the expensive soup.
David Chung, president of the B.C. Asian Restaurant and Cafe Owners Association, said the ban "will cause a scar to the harmony of the multiculturalism that has been built up for years."
He added municipal politicians are just looking to "gain cheap environmental political points" after being "nagged" by animal rights activists.
"To me, it's a joke that they make such a big fuss out of something like this."