After a fair bit of stick from environmentalists, Fiji’s national carrier Air Pacific announced it will put an end to shark fin cargo’s that come from unsustainable or unverified sources. They join a growing list of airlines to curb the practice following the announcement last week that South Korea’s two largest airlines, Korean Air and Asiana will also be banning shark fin shipments, swiftly followed by Air New Zealand and Qantas who will only be shipping from sustainable sources (how they can prove that is anybody’s guess).
“This is consistent with our overriding commitment to environmental protection and conservation efforts in Fiji, we will now work with conservation partners and the fishing industry to prepare and implement policies and processes that will ensure that future shipments are sustainably sourced” acting chief executive Aubrey Swift said in a statement.
Considering that Hong Kong’s own airline Cathay Pacific stopped shipping shark fins last September it is surprising that international airlines are still fueling the trade in the largest market area.
Ran Elfassy, director of Hong Kong based Shark Rescue said:
“Bans such as the ones taken by the airlines are an important step in the right direction, the supply chain of shark products involves many players and the chances are good that traders will move to other carriers. But each disruption adds inefficiency and added cost to the transport, hopefully adding strong pressure to end the trade.”
But the ball is rolling, prominent hotel chains and restaurants in Hong Kong have been taking shark fins off their menu’s
Ran Elfassy believes the impact of large companies banning shark fin is huge and massively raises public awareness:
“When hotels like the Peninsula or airlines like Cathay Pacific take a stand to do what’s right, it sends a message that being socially responsible is good business. It also means these organizations who reach millions of customers every year can be major contributors for doing good. Moreover, it validates what the grassroots groups have been saying all along.” he says.
Sign the Shark Rescue petition here
So hope must spring eternal and we can only believe that with the persistence of 60 environmental groups pressurizing from within Hong Kong and the rest of us trying to use companies that don’t support the industry, that maybe shark fin soup on a menu will be a thing of the past.
Related link: Scuba Diving Directory