Judge Nullifies Toronto Bylaw Banning Shark Fins

An Ontario Superior Court judge has nullified a ban placed by Toronto on shark fins. According to the ruling of Justice James Spence announced on Friday, a city bylaw which bans the use of shark fins and foods, such as the Chinese dish shark fin soup, is beyond the city’s jurisdiction.

Last year the council crushingly passed a bylaw after a heated debate with members, while the Chinese community called the ban discriminatory. The use of shark fin has become an extremely debated issue because some claim that the frequency of harvesting fins advocates clear threat of extinction to shark species due to extreme overfishing. Moreover, the Councillors also attributed several environmental issues and inhumane treatment of sharks to be the reasons for supporting the move which approved the bylaw.

The Canadian branch of animal rights group, Humane Society International, has called on the judge’s ruling to be against the views of councillors and many Torontonians. A campaigner, Gabriel Wildgen, asserted that “the court’s decision nullifies the will of many residents in Toronto, including prominent Chinese Canadians, who want to make sure that their city does not contribute to the shark fin trade.” A news release of an advocacy group narrates that Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam, who co-introduced the bylaw, confirms that he has appealed against the ruling and it will be considered at court. Few other Canadian cities have also placed a similar ban in action, whereas Vancouver and Calgary both currently debate same issue in their council to create bylaws on shark fins.

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