|Cathay stops to carry shark fin on cargo flights
Cathay Pacific said Wednesday it would no longer carry unsustainably sourced shark products on its cargo flights, dealing a blow to Hong Kong's huge shark fin industry.
"Cathay Pacific has decided to stop shipping unsustainably sourced sharks and shark-related products,'' the airline said in a statement, AFP reports.
"There is very compelling scientific evidence to support that this is the right thing to do for a company committed to sustainability.
"Specifically, due to the vulnerable nature of sharks, their rapidly declining population, and the impacts of overfishing for their parts and products, our carriage of these is inconsistent with our commitment to sustainable development.''
Hong Kong is one of the world's biggest markets for shark fins, which are used to make soup that is an expensive staple at Chinese banquets.
Environmentalists say the sustainable shark fin industry is tiny and most shark products are harvested in a way that poses serious risk to several shark species that are deemed vital to the health of the oceans.
Cathay said it had studied the issue for a "very long time'' before siding with conservationists who have long been calling for curbs on the shark fin trade.
"The decision had to be based on scientific data -- for example, are sharks really endangered?'' the airline said.
"We believe that we now have compelling evidence that the majority of shark fishing is incompatible with our position on sustainable development.''
It said the new policy would take about three months to be put in place as shippers had to be notified and "appropriate procedures'' established.
But it said no new contracts to carry unsustainably sourced shark products would be entered into, effective immediately.