China’s largest airline, China Southern, has banned the carriage of shark fin on all its cargo and passenger flights.
The ban came into effect on March 1st 2017 and has just been announced publicly, in a letter to WildAid Hong Kong. China Southern’s vice-president, Han Wensheng, sent a letter confirming the airline had implemented a shark fin ban and stated they would be actively participating in developing a culture of conservation in the future. Wensheng thanked global shark and marine conservation groups for their attention and support of China Southern’s business.
China Southern is one of many airlines that have banned the carriage of shark fin in recent years; including Air China, Hong Kong Express, Cathay Pacific, British Airways and Emirates. This airline is based in Guangzhou, the world’s largest centre for the trade in shark fin, and their ban will limit the opportunity for shark fin importers to conduct their business there.
As shark species continue to be threatened by fisheries and habitat alteration, with some species having declined by over ninety per cent in recent decades, the ban could not have come at a more critical time. Over 100 million sharks are killed per year, predominantly for their fins, and these bans help limit the ability for shark fin to be traded internationally.
WildAid applauded China Southern’s announcement and are now focussing their attention on the United States, where shark fin continues to be shipped by companies such as FedEx and United Airlines.