Air New Zealand suspends shark fin cargo

Air New Zealand has admitted it flew shark fin air cargo to Asia but says it has suspended the practice.

A Hong Kong environmental group say Air New Zealand was doing it earlier this month but only stopped when they witnessed an international uproar around Air Pacific last week.

Environmental groups in Hong Kong revealed last week that Air Pacific — to be rebranded next week as Fiji Airways — was flying shark fin cargo from Fiji to Asia as a way of paying for their three new A330 aircraft.

Fiji Airways, which operates into Auckland, said they would investigate the claim but spokesman Shane Hussein will no longer comment on the allegations also carried by the South China Morning Post.

"The article grossly over exaggerates the situation and is thus misleading," Hussein said.

"To describe our A330 as a 'thinly-veiled freighter' is totally inaccurate."

Hong Kong's Cathy Pacific last year announced a ban on shark fin cargoes.

Social media in Fiji last week claimed that Air New Zealand as well as Fiji Air was picking up the lucrative cargo, which appears to reach Auckland from the Cook Islands, Tonga and Samoa.

In response to an initial inquiry, an Air New Zealand spokeswoman would only say "Air New Zealand does not currently carry shark fin."

Asked if it had in the past and would in the future, she said they had "carried shark fin in the past, but has suspended the practice."

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