Burnaby city hall was the scene of a shark swarm recently.
Between 60 and 70 demonstrators, including people from the Vancouver Animal Defense League and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, gathered outside city hall prior to the evening council meeting last Monday night, asking Burnaby council to ban shark fin products in the city.
Shark fin soup is considered a delicacy by the Chinese community and is sold at some restaurants and served at special events, such as weddings.
Shark fins are frequently harvested by cutting the fins off the animal and leaving it to bleed to death in the ocean.
Anthony Marr, a Vancouver animal rights activist, spoke to Burnaby council about the issue at the June 25 council meeting.
He told the NOW that activists are approaching Burnaby, Richmond and Vancouver at the same time, as bans in all three cities would ensure people wouldn't just hop the city border for shark fin soup.
"Burnaby's a very good place to start," Marr said, adding it is near both Richmond and Vancouver.
Burnaby also has a lower Chinese population than Vancouver and Richmond, which makes compliance with the ban more likely here, he added.
The meeting went well and Coun. Sav Dhaliwal was very encouraging of the activists' efforts, Marr said.
Marley Daviduk of the Vancouver Animal Defence League is going to be approaching Vancouver and Richmond, he added, and the activists also plan to approach Port Moody, Coquitlam and North Vancouver councils later on.
But Mayor Derek Corrigan said a ban isn't likely for Burnaby.
"I don't know how far the city will be inclined to go in regulating the food goods that are sold in the community," he said.
He added that council is aware of the issue but it is beyond the city's scope to regulate food products.
"We're aware of this but it's a difficult situation," he said. "The city trying to establish control on what people eat or don't eat is way beyond the jurisdiction we've exercised in the past."
The issue should be dealt with by the provincial or federal government, Corrigan added.
"We need a policy that's consistent across British Columbia and in fact Canada," he said "If we're going to ban the import of a product, then we should do so at a level where it's most effective."
Corrigan referred the matter to city staff at the meeting, and asked them to compile a report including the city's jurisdiction on the matter.
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