Shark fin shipments have been officially banned by China's largest air carrier, China Southern Airlines, putting the bite on traders of the so-called “delicacy”.
China Southern Airlines joins other air carriers including Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways, British Airways, American Airlines, Emirates, and Singapore Airlines in refusing to transport shark fins. China Southern's announcement is especially important since the airline – the eight-largest in the world – is based in Guangzhou, the global trading hub for shark fins.
China Southern Airlines' ban on shark fin cargo on all passenger and cargo flights took effect on March 1st of 2017 but a letter sent by the airline to WildAid Hong Kong on April 20th is its first public announcement.
In the letter signed by China Southern Airlines' vice-president Han Wensheng, the company “attached great importance to the issue” of shark conservation and had “taken immediate action” in order to “shoulder its social responsibility”.
“This particular shark fin airline ban will be hugely impactful for the simple fact that Guangzhou is the world's largest shark fin trading hub, even eclipsing Hong Kong,” stated Alex Hofford, wildlife campaigner at WildAid Hong Kong. “China Southern's ban will no doubt send a strong message to the many Guangzhou shark fin traders that their business activities are often illegal, but always unethical, immoral, cruel and unsustainable.”
Activists have already turned their attention to the remaining 49 percent of air carriers (by seat capacity) who have not yet joined the ban. Some of those holdouts may surprise you. “Questions remain on why United States air carriers FedEx and United Airlines still continue to ship shark fin, often illegally,” according to Hofford.
Commercial shipper DHL has an existing policy against accepting shark fin shipments while United Parcel Service (UPS) announced their own ban in August of 2015. As for United, recent unfortunate events have left the world's third-largest air carrier (by revenue) in need of a public relations boost – banning shark fin cargo would be a step in the right direction. (via Shanghaiist and SCMP)