moved for leave to introduce Bill C-251, An act to amend the Fisheries Act and the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (importation of shark fins).
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce Bill C-251, An act to amend the Fisheries Act and the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (importation of shark fins). I would like to thank the member for Drummond for seconding my bill.
This bill would prohibit the importation of shark fins into Canada and legally ban shark finning in Canadian waters. For those who are unaware, shark finning is the horrific practice of cutting the fins from living sharks and discarding the remaining shark at sea. The sharks then drown, starve to death, or are eaten alive by other fish. It is a brutal practice.
As top predators, sharks play a key role in maintaining ocean health. Unfortunately, their populations are plummeting around the world. Scientists report that over 100 million sharks a year are being killed, primarily for their fins, shrinking the international shark population and driving dozens of shark species near extinction.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature reports that a quarter of all shark species are threatened with extinction as a result of shark finning. Some populations have dropped by a stunning 99% over the past 50 years. The best way to curb illegal finning is to stop the international trade in shark fins.
Canada can become a world leader in shark conservation and ocean stewardship by adopting this legislation that will protect sharks. I hope that all members of this House will support the bill.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)