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Coq. bans shark fins

Using the concept "Think Global, Act Local," Coquitlam council this week banned shark fins from being possessed, traded, sold and distributed in the city.

Using the concept "Think Global, Act Local," Coquitlam council this week banned shark fins from being possessed, traded, sold and distributed in the city.

Council set the new public policy - without community consultation or a staff report - at Monday's meeting after an hour-long debate that was filled with emotion and ended with Mayor Richard Stewart apologizing for implying the topic was frivolous.

Coun. Mae Reid, who moved the motion, took offence at Stewart's "condensing comments" after he questioned the deputy city manager about whether Coquitlam had the authority to stop shark fins from coming into Coquitlam.

"It's not our role," Stewart said after John Dumont told council the ban would be seen as "more symbolic."

Earlier this month, Port Moody council banned shark fins, making it the first municipality in B.C. to order the prohibition; violators there face a $500 fine.

The local action follows a petition organized by former Coquitlam city councillor and now New Westminster-Coquitlam NDP MP Fin Donnelly, who is asking the federal government to stop importing shark fins, which are considered a delicacy in some Chinese restaurants.

"It's a federal issue but it's important that we support good decision-making at that level," Coun. Selina Robinson said.

jwarren@tricitynews.com