(Niagara At Large is posting the following open letter from Arthur Miller of the citizens advocacy group Marineland Animal Defense/Shark Allies Niagara to regional councillors in Niagara, Ontario, urging them to support a ban here on the sale of shark-fin soup and other products with shark remains in them. Such a ban has already been passed in other Ontario municipalities including Toronto, London, Oakville, Brantford and Mississauga.)
Dear Regional Councillors,
We are writing you this letter as concerned citizens from across the Niagara (Ontario) Region.As advocates for other animal species we see a sweeping change in attitude towards our relationships with other animals and the environment and we are urging local council to act on these issues. One current illustration of this change is the sweep of shark fin bans across North America. Municipal bans have been passed in Toronto, Brantford, Mississauga, Oakville and London and there is now momentum behind a proposed federal ban being introduced by Fin Donnelly (NDP – New Westminster – Coquitlam). We are writing to you in hopes to not only expedite municipal bans in the Niagara Region, but also in hopes of pushing for a more comprehensive ban.
The impetus for shark fin bans stems from the slow reproductive rates of shark species, the role they play in our oceans as apex predators, and the ways in which human beings catch and destroy their bodies for our use. Estimates range between 23 million to 73 million sharks are finned yearly. This is a staggering number and it has pushed many shark species close to extinction.
For perspective, as a result of this shark populations have dropped 80% over the last 50 years. Sharksʼ role as apex predators in our oceans mean they control and regulate prey species below. This regulation is vital to the maintenance of our ocean systems and ensures our oceans can regulate the control and release of carbon.
Long lining, the process in which most sharks are caught is also an extremely destructive process that is indiscriminate and has high rates of off catch – meaning they harm other endangered and potentially endangered species.
The rationale driving these bans is that shark species belong in the ocean and that we need to protect their environments. As such, we are urging regional council to put forward a comprehensive ban that would end the sale of not only shark fin products in the Niagara Region, but also shark cartilage pills and also the practice of keeping shark species captive.
This ban would save municipal resources, be a strong motion in defense of other animal species and our environment, and also position the Niagara Region as a leader in the Shark Conservation movement.
If you have any questions or comments regarding this issue please contact us at http://firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope to hear the position of each regional councillor and look forward to working together on this issue.
Sincerely, Marineland Animal Defense/Shark Allies Niagara
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