10/13/2012 08:43 EDT | Updated 12/13/2012 05:12 EST

NDP Criticizes Tory MP For Eating Shark Fin Soup

This Feb. 14, 2011 file photo shows a bowl of shark fin soup being served at a Chinese restaurant in San Francisco's Chinatown. Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown announced Friday that he signed a bill banning the sale, trade and possession of shark fins to protect the world's dwindling shark population. Brown signed AB376 over objections that the fins are used in a soup considered a delicacy in some Asian cultures. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)
B.C. New Democrat MP Fin Donnelly says he's disappointed Conservative MP Alice Wong ate a bowl of shark fin soup at a recent news conference.

Wong, who represents Richmond, ate the soup during a news conference at a local restaurant on Thursday. The restaurant owner is a vocal opponent of a ban on the Asian delicacy.

Last month, most B.C. municipalities voted in favour of a ban on shark fins. Anti-animal cruelty groups say more than 70 million sharks are killed each year through the practice of finning, which involves cutting off shark fins and tossing the sharks back into the water to die.

Donnelly, the MP for New Westminster-Coquitlam, says eating shark fin soup is not what he'd expect from a cabinet minister.

"I'm very surprised that the minister would try to defend this practice of finning and say this is okay. This is a real conservation issue," he said.

"Scientists are saying we are losing sharks at a dramatic rate around the world and apex predators like sharks play a critical role in maintaining ocean eco-system health."

It’s not clear whether Wong was acting on behalf of the Harper government or if she supports the continued use of shark fins in restaurants.

Media reports quote Wong only as saying a ban on shark fins is a federal responsibility.

Donnelly has put forward a private member's bill to make it illegal to import shark fins to Canada.

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