Importing and exporting shark fins is now banned in Canada. The practice of shark finning has been illegal in Canadian waters for years; however, Canada was the largest importer of shark fins outside of Asia. A grassroots effort by Oceana Canada pushed for the passage of Bill S-238, to ban the importation and exportation of shark fins. This effort resulted in more than 300,000 petition signatures and thousands of emails and phone calls being made to Members of Parliament calling on them to protect sharks. This public support and campaigning by Oceana Canada and other groups led to Bill S-238 being incorporated into Canada’s new Fisheries Act which passed into law on June 18, 2019.
After four years of campaigning by Oceana Canada and its allies, a modernized Fisheries Act became law, setting the stage for rebuilding ocean abundance. This new legislation is an historic change in how Canada manages its fisheries: for the first time since the Fisheries Act was enacted in 1868, the government now must manage fish populations sustainably and put in place plans to help those that are depleted rebuild back to healthy levels. Rebuilding means more fish which could support more jobs and all of the social, cultural and economic benefits that come with healthy oceans full of life.