18 February 2019
Shark fin is widely sold and consumed in Hong Kong. Photo: HKEJ
Shark fin is widely sold and consumed in Hong Kong. Photo: HKEJ

HK Express bans shark fin cargo, Cathay Pacific remains coy

Budget airline HK Express is banning cargo containing shark fin and tightening restrictions on cargo with shark fin products, public broadcaster RTHK reports.

The Hong Kong Shark Foundation and WildAid, a group that works to end trade in endangered-species products, welcomed the airline’s announcement.

WildAid said it has worked closely with many organizations over the last few years, contributing to an obvious drop in imports of shark fin.

The Hong Kong Shark Foundation said eating shark fin is an unnecessary and obsolete tradition.

The HK Express ban will take immediate effect, making it the first local carrier to accept no shipments of shark fin in its cargo, Ming Pao Daily.

The airline’s chief executive, Andrew Cowen, said it is making an effort to support the sustainability of sharks and the restoration of the ocean ecosystem.

The Hong Kong Shark Foundation said half of the world’s shark fin exports go through Hong Kong.

It hailed the move by HK Express and hoped that other airlines, including the local leader, Cathay Pacific, will follow suit.

Cathay Pacific would not comment to Ming Pao reporters on whether it will impose a ban on shark fin cargoes.

The airline said it has not processed any cargo of shark fin or shark fin products since it rolled out certain guidelines in the middle of last year.

Cathay Pacific said it will only accept a shark fin cargo after the goods are verified by the UUCN Shark Specialist Group and TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network.

About three dozen airlines, including British Airways, American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Thai Airways and EVA Airways, have pledged not to ship shark fin cargoes.

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