Joining 36 other airlines globally, Air China Cargo has become the first mainland China airline to ban shark fin transport. The cargo arm of Air China did not specify when the policy change would take effect.
Air China Cargo holds a 7.7 percent market share, making it the fourth-largest container operator in the world.
In a statement posted on its website, Air China expressed its commitment to sustainability.
“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. Therefore, on the issue of shark fin, we reiterate our ‘No Shark Fin’ carriage policy.”
Regional carrier HK Express became the first local carrier to implement a ban. They were followed in recent months by Dragonair and Cathay Pacific. Other major airlines participating in the ban include Emirates, British Airways, Singapore Airlines and American Airlines.
The South China Morning Post reports:
Alex Hofford, a wildlife activist from conservation group WildAid, said Air China’s action to save sharks would be far-reaching.
“Scientists estimate that fins from up to 73 million sharks a year are used for shark’s fin soup, with much of the trade in shark fin destined for China,” he said.
“Air China’s ‘No Shark Fin’ commitment is therefore hugely significant because, despite government efforts, China [including Hong Kong] is a country where significant demand for shark’s fin soup still exists.
“It’s a bold move and this is likely to have a huge and lasting impact on shark populations and marine ecosystems worldwide,” he added.
Hofford said full enforcement of the ban by airlines and shipping lines was vital to ensure its effectiveness in protecting shark populations.
He urged vigilance against deliberate mislabelling of shark fin cargo to stop people from circumventing the ban.