Cathay Pacific bans shipping of shark products

Hong Kong airline aims to protect sharks
Hong Kong airline aims to protect sharks

    JUST WATCHED

    Hong Kong airline aims to protect sharks

MUST WATCH

Hong Kong airline aims to protect sharks 02:48

Story highlights

  • Cathay Pacific will stop shipping unsustainably sourced shark products
  • The airline is the world's largest carrier of air cargo, headquartered in Hong Kong
  • "The majority of shark fishing is incompatible with our position on Sustainable Development"
  • An estimate 50% of the shark fin trade comes through Hong Kong

Cathay Pacific, the world's largest carrier of air cargo, will stop shipping unsustainably sourced shark products in a move marine conservation groups characterized as a big step forward in efforts to protect the animals.

"We believe that we now have compelling evidence that the majority of shark fishing is incompatible with our position on Sustainable Development," Cathay Pacific said in a statement.

"Due to the vulnerable nature of sharks, their rapidly declining population, and the impacts of overfishing for their parts and products, our carriage of these is inconsistent with our commitment to sustainable development," the airline said.

The ban will apply to Cathay Pacific and its subsidiary Dragonair, both major players in the transport of air cargo to Hong Kong and China. Shark's fin soup remains a popular delicacy for weddings and banquets within China. In order to obtain these fins, fishermen catch sharks, cut off their fins and throw the sharks back into the water to die.

More: China plans banquet ban on shark fin

Environmentalists say this wasteful practice puts several shark species at risk of extinction. An estimate 50% of the shark fin trade comes through Hong Kong.

China cracks down on shark fin soup
China cracks down on shark fin soup

    JUST WATCHED

    China cracks down on shark fin soup

MUST WATCH

China cracks down on shark fin soup 02:14
Sharks on the brink of disaster
Sharks on the brink of disaster

    JUST WATCHED

    Sharks on the brink of disaster

MUST WATCH

Sharks on the brink of disaster 10:09
California debates shark fin ban
California debates shark fin ban

    JUST WATCHED

    California debates shark fin ban

MUST WATCH

California debates shark fin ban 03:37

Stanley Shea, from the marine advocacy group Bloom Association, believes Cathay Pacific's move sends a message to other Hong Kong corporations. They are "showing other corporates they understand the issue and making change happening in Hong Kong."

The airline says it will take three months to implement the new policy, but it will stop accepting any new contracts immediately.

More: Shark fin off the menu at top hotel

Cathay's decision came after the airline received a July letter from more than 40 international environmental organizations, requesting it set an "aggressive timeline" to stop carrying shark's fin.

In the letter, the group estimated Cathay Pacific carries between 20-50% of all the air cargo trade in shark's fin.

Shea said they are also targeting the shipping lines, which are still responsible for carrying the majority of shark products worldwide.