Richard Branson praises Sharkwater and the Toronto shark fin ban

By Alexandra Heilbron on March 7, 2012 | 10 Comments

Richard Branson thanked the City of Toronto yesterday for the recent ban on shark fin products and urged the federal government to ban any imports of shark fins to Canada. Branson became interested in protecting sharks after watching Rob Stewart‘s movie Sharkwater. In an article in the New York Times Sunday Review on January 15, 2012, Branson said: “The films I really enjoy are films with a meaning or purpose like Sharkwater, which explores the misunderstood world of sharks, and while beautify and thrilling, also exposes corruption and exploitation surrounding the world’s shark populations. It was such a powerful film that now I’m trying to stop shark finning around the globe.”

Rob Stewart was voted the top living person who made Toronto better this year for his work on the Toronto shark fin ban by The Grid, which dubbed him “David Suzuki with a Six Pack.”

Besides Toronto, in the past few months the Canadian cities of Oakville, Pickering, London, Newmarket, Brantford and Mississauga have passed bans on the sale and ownership of shark fin products. Sharkwater inspired Oregon and Hawaii to pass bans on shark fins and Leonardo DiCaprio helped get a ban installed in California. School children in Saipan and Guam successfully petitioned the government for a ban after viewing Sharkwater at their schools.

Richard Branson and actress Bo Derek were in Toronto to call for greater protection of Canada’s polar bears. Branson’s foundation Virgin Unite is leading the development of a Polar Bear Protection Act for Ontario.

Comments & Discussion

  1. Sherri • March 7, 2012 @ 5:21 PM

    What do people use shark fins for?

  2. Elizabeth • March 7, 2012 @ 5:31 PM

    You all need to go out get a copy of Sharkwater if you haven’t seen it yet – I don’t usually like documentaries but it was so not what I expected!

  3. C-Dub • March 7, 2012 @ 6:10 PM

    Sherri, isn’t it obvious,the shark fins are used to swim better. No, maybe it’s to play ‘Jaws’ pranks on people and make it look authentic. Makes us all laugh when that happens.
    Really, -fin soup- and many famous chefs (ie: Ramsay) said it doesn’t taste good anyway.
    Plenty of other food on earth to eat, why are we finding Shark fin soup the new Chicken noodle all of a sudden? Let’s just hope nobody gets the idea to shark farm.

  4. Sherri • March 8, 2012 @ 9:41 AM

    That’s so sad 🙁 Well done Rob for bringing this out so people can take a stand against it!

  5. David • March 8, 2012 @ 10:24 AM

    Sharks are just the tip of the iceberg here. The oceans are overfished and in serious trouble and clean water is going to become a prized commodity. Humans are a virus.

  6. Jacob • March 8, 2012 @ 10:32 AM

    It’s not just that the fins are being used in a tasteless soup that is extremely expensive and considered a “delicacy,” it’s also the disgusting manner in which the fins are obtained. When sharks are caught, the fins are cut off and the shark, while still alive, is tossed back into the ocean to suffer and die.

  7. Dave • March 8, 2012 @ 10:48 AM

    Rob Stewart lead the anti-asian rhetoric to such level in Toronto that the Chinese Canadian community was threatened with rat poison, then did nothing about it.

    This is shark conservation?

    Shame on Stewart and Branson for not speaking out!

    Racism is doubly ugly when the rich and powerful submit to it for a “cause”

  8. TheTruth • March 8, 2012 @ 12:59 PM

    C-Dub, wouldn’t it be better if they could farm sharks? That way we could all get an endless supply, not endanger the free sharks, and not have the rest of the shark bodies go to waste.

    Yea David, kinda like Quantum of Solace, water is going to be new the oil.

    Oh well off to Markham where the Chinese population is so large I don’t have to worry about not getting some shark fin soup…

  9. […] cultural and ethical implications of the citys recent ban on shark fin: Virgin Group chairman Richard Branson says its cool. The professional rich person and global do-gooder has endorsed Torontos prohibition of the […]

  10. Ariel • May 30, 2012 @ 12:24 AM

    KK i agree with nibbles kk we have to click a swicth on the right side of the shark mouth and then we must wait for the perfect time to do it wich is when it is ten or one o clock im not sure yetAgent piggy hereOver and out

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