By Jason Holland, Contributing Editor reporting from London
Published on Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Air China has become mainland China’s first airline to ban shark fin cargo, joining a list of more than 30 carriers around the world to have implemented transport embargoes on the controversial product.
In a statement the airline said, “Air China Cargo has a longstanding commitment to playing our role in a more sustainable world. We were one of the first airlines in China to raise the awareness of the unsustainability of the global shark trade. We understand the community’s desire to promote responsible and sustainable marine sourcing practices, and this remains important to Air China Cargo’s overall sustainable development goals. Therefore, on the issue of shark fin, we reiterate our ‘No Shark Fin’ carriage policy.”
Conservation groups have welcomed the move by China’s flag carrier.
Alex Hofford, wildlife campaigner at WildAid, said, “We applaud Air China for taking an ethical stance on this issue to help protect sharks and help our oceans.”
WildAid is now calling on other carriers to take action to protect sharks and said it would be approaching the other Chinese airlines to follow Air China’s lead.
In July last year, China Ocean Shipping Company (Cosco) pledged to implement a ban on shark fin transport following the discovery of 880 kg of endangered hammerhead shark fins on board one of its vessels arriving in Hong Kong from Panama.
Hong Kong is one of the largest consumers per capita of shark fins in the world – accounting for around 50 percent of the global shark fin trade, according to WWF data.
At the start of 2017, China’s government announced that it would put an end to commercial ivory sales by the end of the year.