Air China Cargo has officially announced its company-wide ban on transporting shark fins, making its mother company the first airline from the Chinese mainland to ban the products, which have caused the overhunting of sharks in many waters.
“Air China Cargo has a long-standing commitment to playing our role in a more sustainable world. We understand the community’s desire to promote responsible and sustainable marine sourcing practices, and this remains important to Air China Cargo’s overall sustainable development goals,” wrote Air China Cargo, an affiliate of Air China, in a press release on Jan. 6.
The company added that it is one of the first airlines in China to raise awareness about the unsustainability of the global shark trade.
“We applaud Air China for taking an ethical stance on this issue to help protect sharks and help our oceans,” said Alex Hofford, a wildlife campaigner with the NGO WildAid. Hofford petitioned Air China to ban shark fin cargo in December 2016. In a WildAid press release, the organization also called on FedEx to take action to save sharks, and said it would approach more Chinese airlines in the future in an attempt to widen the ban.
“Full enforcement of shark fin bans by airlines and shipping lines is vital to their success. Airlines and shipping lines should strictly check that shark fin cargo presented for shipment is not being simply mislabeled and shipped as seafood, dried seafood or dried marine products etc,” WildAid stressed in its press release.
Air China is the 36th international airline to ban the transportation of shark fins, along with another 17 international shipping companies. In July 2016, China COSCO Shipping Corporation also banned the transport of shark fins, Thepaper.cn reported.
Despite being a nation enamored with shark fin as a delicacy, Chinese citizens are also increasingly aware of shrinking shark populations, along with other wildlife protection causes. In addition to many restaurants skipping dishes with shark fins, a number of shops have also enacted "no shark fin" policies, as more and more of the public sees shark fins as a brutal violation rather than food.