Sunday, 24 February 2013

MP And Councillors Unite Against Shark Fin Trade by Cllr Andrea Reiner

The main business for Thursday’s meeting of the full Cambridge City Council was to approve the budget for 2013-14. However, we also took time to consider a petition that was brought to the Council by local residents concerned that four establishments in the city are selling shark fin products. The petition had been signed by more than 3,000 people.

In response, our Market ward colleague, Cllr Andrea Reiner co-sponsored a motion calling for a end to the trade in shark fins (Earlier this month City MP Julian Huppert also tabled an Early Day Motion drawing attention to the issue).

In support of the motion, Cllr Reiner said:

This motion comes at a time when many of us are thinking more carefully about what we eat.

The petitioners and Cllr Gawthrope have set out the strong case for banning the trade in shark fins on conservation grounds.

This is an important point because shark fins are a traditional food for an ethnic group that is a minority in Cambridge. In considering this petition we need to be sensitive to this, and be careful not to stray into illiberal intolerance.

However the case for conservation is overwhelming, so much so that many jurisdictions across the US and Canada have banned the trade in shark fins. There is also noteworthy movement in Hong Kong and China on the issue.

To be sure, the trade in Cambridge is not large.

But Cambridge is a world class city, and a centre of conservation.

So the aim of this motion is for Cambridge to add its voice to this global dialogue,
to bring moral pressure to bear on the issue,
and lead the UK in doing so.

The motion passed with the support of all councillors present, save for one abstention.