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Local restaurant owner fighting regional shark fin soup ban

RICHMOND (NEWS1130) – The push to stop the sale of shark fins is picking up momentum, with the City of Vancouver voting to work with Burnaby and Richmond on a regional ban.

But a restaurateur in Richmond is vowing to fight any such ban; the head of the BC Asian Restaurant and Cafe Owners Association is already working on a petition.

David Chung, who owns Jade Seafood Restaurant, argues people should have a right to choose the food they eat. He plans to organize protests and even take legal action if a ban is imposed. “If the petition doesn’t work, we’ll demonstrate, if demonstrations don’t work we’ll go to legal action.”

Chung says all of the products he serves come with a certificate of origin and are inspected by government officials. He claims none of it is obtained through the process of finning, where the fins are cut from the shark and the animal is thrown back in the water to die.

He believes a ban would be “culturally insensitive.”

“When you thank somebody who has done you a favour, you want to show them your appreciation, you don’t treat them to sweet and sour pork . . . because that’s not enough to demonstrate your sincerity,” he suggests.

“So you treat them to something better, more expensive. Shark fin soup is one of those items.”

Animals rights groups have hailed yesterday’s vote as historic, saying it will eliminate a huge market for the Asian delicacy and help save sharks from extinction.

Council has instructed city staff to approach the neighbouring Metro Vancouver cities of Burnaby and Richmond to work on a joint plan to stop shark fin sales and trade.

The Metro Vancouver communities of Coquitlam, Port Moody, North Vancouver City and Maple Ridge already support bans on shark fin sales.