In a move that is sure to please shark-lovers everywhere, China Southern Airlines has announced that it has banned shark fin shipments from its flights.
For sharks, this is a huge development. China Southern is not only the mainland’s largest carrier, but it is also based in the city of Guangzhou, the largest trading hub in the world for the controversial delicacy, shark fin soup, which animal rights activists have vigorously protested against, believing that the dish could lead sharks to a particularly cruel extinction.
Now, more than 50% of international airlines (based on seat capacity) have banned shark fin cargo from their passenger and cargo flights. Back in January, Air China became the first mainland carrier to take that step, following on the heels of Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific’s decision to implement a ban last year.
According to the South China Morning Post, China Southern vice president Han Wensheng announced the decision to Wild Aid in a recent letter, stating that a ban on shark fins had been put into place earlier this year on March 1st.
In the letter, Han said that in the future the airline would “shoulder its social responsibility” and pledged to “actively participate in the cause of wild animal and plants conservation… to jointly promote conservation culture and the sustainable development of [the] human community with the general public,” according to SCMP.
In response, Alex Hofford, wildlife campaigner at Wild Aid Hong Kong, told the Post that the move was a major blow to shark fin traders:
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.
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.
Back in 2013, a survey estimated that fins from up to 73 million sharks a year were being used to make shark fin soup, mostly in China, but due to the efforts of animal conservationists, as well as government crackdowns on corruption in the mainland and bans on shark fin soup at official banquets in Hong Kong, the shark fin trade has fallen off considerably in recent years.
— WildAid (@WildAid) April 20, 2017
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