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Airline bans ‘unsustainably sourced’ shark products from its flights

The movement toward the banning of shark fin has reached the skies, as the world’s largest carrier of air cargo announced it will stop shipping unsustainably sourced shark products.

Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific said in a statement it now has “compelling evidence” that the majority of shark fishing isn’t sustainable.

“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,” according to the statement.

The airline made the announcement Sept. 4. It’s policy change is effective immediately, but the airline estimated it will take three months to make the transition.

Cathay’s decision came after the airline received a July 23 letter from 41 international environmental organizations—including B.C.’s Shark Truth—urging it to stop carrying shark fin. The alliance, citing Hong Kong government data, said 10,200 tonnes of shark fin were imported into Hong Kong in 2011, with Cathay Pacific air cargo responsible for 650 of those tonnes.

The City of Richmond is currently mulling a ban on shark fin. Other cities, including Toronto, have already enacted bylaws that outlaw the product, which animal activists say is cruelly harvested and has put many species at risk of extinction.

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