Canada is acting as an accomplice in the trade of endangered whale meat, according to Vancouver Kingsway MP Don Davies.
Although the country is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the government has allowed the transhipment of fin whale meat to foreign markets, Davies said.
In December last year, the NDP critic for international trade stood in Parliament to demand government compliance to Canada’s commitment under CITES.
“We raised at the House of Commons that this is a violation of Canada’s international obligations to not trade or facilitate the trade of endangered species, of which fin whale meat is,” Davies told the Straight in an interview Sunday (March 1).
Davies recalled that it was revealed at that time that Iceland was shipping whale meat to Japan through Canada.
“They did it by sending it to the Port of Halifax and then putting it on a train and shipping it across Canada where it left the Port of Vancouver,” Davies said.
According to figures provided by Davies’s office, a total of 211,839 kilograms of whale meat was exported from B.C. to Japan in January 2014.
In the interview, Davies noted that there was an additional transhipment made last year.
According to information released today (March 2) by Davies on the eve of World Wildlife Day, 42,038 kilograms of whale meat were shipped from Nova Scotia to Iceland in March 2014. The origin of the meat, which was valued at $537,000, is not known.
“Growing trade is important to the Canadian economy,” Davies said in a media release. “But Canadians do not support trading in endangered species that threatens the biodiversity of our planet. It is illegal and needs to stop.”
Sheryl Fink, director of wildlife campaigns for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said in the same release that protection of endangered species should be a priority for the government.
“By facilitating the trade in endangered whale meat, Canada is contributing to the extinction of these majestic animals,” Fink said.