Air China Cargo bans Shark Fin Cargo

Published: Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Air China Cargo has become one of the first airlines from the Chinese mainland to ban the controversial trade of shark fin.

In 2015, government data showed that shark fin imports to the nation had declined 82% over the course of just 3 years. The US, European Union, and India, along with close to 100 other nations from the Mideast to the Caribbean, have banned finning — the practice of catching sharks solely to harvest fins. Some of those countries, like New Zealand, were huge exporters.

China, Hong Kong and Malaysia have all banned the soup at government functions, five hotel chains have taken it off their menus and 35 other airlines have refused to transport shark fins – Air China, being the country’s flag carrier, is a major ally to join their ranks.

Public opinion is also shifting in favor of the ocean-dwelling creatures; on a recent survey in China 85% of respondents said they no longer ate shark fin soup. In fact, so many people have lost their appetite for shark, that the fins are as cheap as squid — essentially destroying the market for them in some parts of China.

“Air China Cargo has a long standing commitment to playing our role in a more sustainable world. We were one of the first airlines in China to raise the awareness of the unsustainability of the global shark trade,” said company officials in a press release. “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.”

China also just announced a complete ban on ivory, which will take full effect by the end of 2017. The ban’s deadline and details were announced at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in October. As China is the largest market for legal and illegal ivory in the world, with as much as an estimated 70% of ivory worldwide ending up in the country, this ban on all exports and imports has the potential to save tens of thousands of elephants from poachers every year.