TORONTO - An Ontario Superior Court judge has struck down Toronto's ban on shark fins.

Justice James Spence said in a ruling Friday that a city bylaw banning shark fins and foods such as the Chinese dish shark fin soup fell beyond the city's jurisdiction.

Council overwhelmingly passed the bylaw last year after a heated debate which saw members of the Chinese community call the ban discriminatory.

Shark fin use has become highly controversial because of the way the fins are harvested, with advocates warning overfishing is putting shark species at risk of extinction.

Councillors cited environmental issues and inhumane treatment of sharks as reasons for supporting the move

The Canadian branch of animal rights group Humane Society International says the judge's ruling runs counter to the views of councillors and many Torontonians.