In a major victory for sharks, China Southern Airlines has officially banned the shipment of shark fins on its flights.
The airline is the largest in China and is based in Guangzhou, a city that’s gained notoriety for serving up shark fin soup.
Not only is the shark fin trade incredibly cruel and wasteful, it’s causing serious problems for shark populations around the world. It’s believed to be responsible for killing an estimated 73 million sharks every year, who are killed for nothing more than their fins.
Sharks grow and reproduce slowly, which makes them especially vulnerable to exploitation. The demand for their fins is pushing many species closer to the brink of extinction, which is also bad news for the marine ecosystems they’re a vital part of keeping healthy.
In a letter to WildAid, the company’s vice chairman wrote that China Southern will “shoulder its social responsibility” and “actively participate in the cause of wild animals and plants conservation in accordance with applicable laws(s), to jointly promote conservation culture and sustainable development of human community with the general public.”
The ban is expected to have a strong effect on the shark fin industry.
“WildAid greatly appreciates and applauds China Southern Airlines for banning all shark fin cargo shipments,” said WildAid campaigner Alex Hofford. “Because China Southern Airlines is based in Guangzhou, 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.”
According to WildAid, China Southern Airlines now joins a list of at least 36 other airlines and 17 container shipping companies around the globe that have taken a formal stand against transporting shark fins.
While conservationists are still working hard to reduce the demand that’s driving the senseless slaughter of sharks, with success, they’re also working to get other carriers to step up and do their part, including two major carriers in the U.S.
“Now that China Southern Airlines has joined China’s national flag carrier Air China by implementing their own No Shark Fin cargo carriage policy, questions remain on why United States air carriers FedEx and United Airlines still continue to ship shark fin,” added Hofford.
Conservationists have been pushing to get them to stop, but they’ve yet to make changes.
You can help keep the pressure on by signing and sharing the petition urging FedEx to stop shipping shark fins.
For more on how to help, check out WildAid.
This article was first published by Care2.com on 02 May 2017.