One of the world’s biggest airlines, Cathay Pacific, has agreed to immediately ban all transportation of shark fin on its planes and, hence, remove the airline from any illegal supply chain of this endangered species. This is a remarkable victory for conservationists in the battle against the illegal trade in wildlife globally.
Shark fin is, of course, the key ingredient of shark fin soup, an expensive delicacy in many Asian countries, especially China. The ban was the result of strong pressure from a campaign by WildAid, a wildlife advocacy group. The move has also been supported by some other carriers, such as Garuda Indonesia, American Airlines, Qantas, British Airways.
“On the issue of shark fins, with immediate effect, we are happy to agree to ban the carriage,” stated Cathay Pacific. The airline also affirmed that it had rejected all 15 shipment requests for shark-related products in the past year.
“We understand the community’s desire to promote responsible and sustainable marine sourcing practices, and this remains important to Cathay Pacific’s overall sustainable development goals,” the airline said in a press release on Wednesday. Marine conservationists have praised the decision by Cathay Pacific, and they hope that other Hong Kong businesses will follow their lead. “We are delighted and applaud Cathay for taking this positive step,” shared WildAid.
Wild Aid said that the immediate blanket ban on the air transportation of shark fin on all Cathay Pacific flights demonstrates its commitment to helping conserve the environment. “By imposing a 100 percent total ban with immediate effect, Hong Kong’s flagship carrier has shown it is serious about protecting sharks and our global marine ecosystem.”
According to a WWF report, there are over 70 million sharks killed each year, and Hong Kong is one of the biggest markets for shark-related products. In 2015, although the amount of shark products imported into Hong Kong dropped by 31 percent from the previous year, there are still about 457 tons of shark products consumed in Hong Kong annually.