An Ontario judge has struck down a bylaw banning the possession, sale and consumption of shark fins in Toronto. Justice James Spence of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice made his decision Friday, saying the ban was outside the powers of the city.
The application to have the ban overturned was made by Hughes Eng, Barbara Chiu, Peter Tam and Jacky Ma, four members of the Chinese business community who said the bylaw unfairly targeted their community.
Last week, the European parliament backed a blanket ban on shark finning, in which the fins are sliced off sharks, often while they are alive, and their carcasses dumped in the sea.
A surge in demand for shark fins, mostly for soup in Asia, has threatened various species of the predators, which have a vital role in maintaining the balance of marine ecosystems.
The ban, proposed a year ago by the European Commission, would forbid shark finning by all vessels in EU waters and by all EU-registered vessels operating anywhere in the world.