Airline Cathay Pacific joined a growing number of air carriers to ban shipments of shark fin.
The move, announced last week, came in response to a campaign by WildAid, a wildlife advocacy group that is targeting the global wildlife trade.
“On the issue of shark’s fin, with immediate effect we are happy to agree to ban the carriage,” Cathay Pacific said in a statement. The airline added that prior to last week’s ban, it had rejected “all 15 shipment requests for shark-related products in the last 12 months.”
WildAid immediately welcomed the decision.
“We are delighted and applaud Cathay for taking this positive step,” the group said. “By imposing a 100 per cent total ban with immediate effect, Hong Kong’s flag carrier has shown it is serious about protecting sharks and our global marine ecosystem.”
WildAid added that Cathay Pacific’s policy could increase pressure on the government of Hong Kong to enact a “a total ban on commercial sales of shark fin.”
“That’s why today’s announcement by Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong’s de facto airline, is so important,” WildAid said.
“A responsible airline like Cathay Pacific should never be seen to be a link in the supply chain for a criminal trade,” said WildAid Hong Kong’s Alex Hofford. “That’s why we are so happy that Cathay has done the right thing by no longer carry any shark fin or shark products. Shipping sharks by air is not just an issue of sustainability, but ethics and legality.”
According to the environmental group, more than 30 passenger airlines ranging from American Airlines to Emirates have banned shark fin cargo.
Conservationists are concerned about sharks due to widespread overharvesting for the fin trade. Tens of millions of sharks are killed each year for their fins, causing ecological impacts in marine food webs, including proliferation of lower-level predators.
This story was published with permission by Mongabay.com