New Westminster city council is fishing for feedback on its proposed ban on shark fin products.
Businesses and individuals who believe they'll be impacted by a proposed ban on shark fin products in New Westminster will be able to make their concerns known at an upcoming public hearing. The city will hold a public hearing about the proposed bylaw on Monday, Dec. 3 in council chambers.
New Westminster city council has given three readings to a shark fin regulation bylaw, which prohibits the sale, trade or distribution of shark fins or products derived from shark fins in the city. A staff report notes that shark fins are primarily used to make shark fin soup in Asian restaurants, but other products are also available such as dried, canned, cooked, wet and frozen form at some markets and health stores.
"City staff surveyed local restaurants that serve Asian food and found that only one establishment serves food items containing shark fins," stated the staff report. "The management of this restaurant advises banning shark fin products would not have a major impact on the business. Staff are unaware of any other businesses in New Westminster that sell shark fin soup or shark fin products."
The city will consider adoption of the proposed bylaw following the public hearing.
"We wanted to make sure we did have a consultation process to make sure there was an opportunity to have feedback from residents and businesses," said Coun. Jonathan Cote. "Council has been supportive of the creation of a shark fin bylaw."
Ideally, the ban on shark fin products should be handled at a provincial or federal level, Cote said, but action taken by municipalities can pressure senior governments to take action.
"The people I have spoken to in the community have been very supportive of the city moving ahead," he said.
Some B.C. municipalities have already approved bylaws that ban the sale of shark fin products. While the cities of Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond and Surrey have been considering the issue, it's unlikely they'll take action before 2013.
Cote said New Westminster feels like it is in a position to move ahead with a bylaw, while some other Metro Vancouver cities are being a little more cautious because of feedback from their constituents.
New Westminster MP Fin Donnelly has introduced a private members bill in the House of Commons that is seeking to ban the import of shark fins into Canada.
"New Westminster council is very familiar with the work Fin Donnelly is doing on the federal level," Cote said about the city's decision to move toward banning shark fin products. "It also came from the fact a number of other municipalities have implemented or are implementing this ban."