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Committee approves shark-fin ban in Toronto

A day after Mississauga banned shark fin products, a committee approved similar action against the controversial Chinese delicacy in Toronto.

However, the decision will still have to go to city council for final approval, and then on to Ottawa. A city report noted that as a municipality, Toronto has no grounds — whether health and safety, consumer protection, or nuisance control — to ban shark fins.

The licensing and standards committee voted Thursday and approved a report which recommends prohibiting the possession, sale and consumption of shark fin products.

The motion also suggests asking Ottawa to outlaw imports of shark fin, cartilage and all other products and to protect the species in Canadian waters.

Last summer, councillors Glenn De Baeremaeker and Kristyn Wong-Tam joined conservation group WildAid to launch a campaign against shark finning, which has been accused of being cruel and inhumane while also depleting a vulnerable population.

WildAid estimates as many as 73 million sharks are killed every year for the soup and they are often still alive when their fins are cut off and they are tossed back into the water to drown or bleed to death.

Brantford, Ont., was the first city in Canada to ban shark fins in early June.

At another committee meeting on Wednesday, Coun. Doug Ford questioned the regulations governing a vending machine contract with Pepsi.

He said the city is losing revenue because of its health initiatives and ban on bottled water.

The government management committee voted in favour of a new five-year contract with Pepsi, starting in November.

City council will vote on the beverage motion on Oct. 24.