Skip to main content

Airline dumps shark's fin cargo

By Frances Cha, CNN
May 24, 2013 -- Updated 0753 GMT (1553 HKT)
Air New Zealand says it has suspended flying shark's fin cargo.
Air New Zealand says it has suspended flying shark's fin cargo.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Air New Zealand suspends shark's fin cargo after complaints by environmental groups
  • Cathay Pacific suspended shark's fin cargo in 2012
  • Approximately 72 million sharks are killed each year for their fins

(CNN) -- The anti-shark's fin campaign is crusading on in Asia Pacific.

Air New Zealand has become the latest airline to stop flying shipments of shark's fin to Hong Kong, the shark's fin capital of the world.

The decision came about after the New Zealand Shark Alliance revealed the airline's shipments in local media.

"Air New Zealand has taken the decision to suspend the carriage of shark fins while we undertake a review of the issue," Air New Zealand spokesperson Andrew Aitken told CNN. "We have no further comment to make while this review is underway."

The topic is a particularly sensitive environmental issue in Hong Kong, the world's biggest market for shark's fin, as campaigns highlighting the cruelty and devastation stemming from the practice are becoming more and more successful.

Hong Kong is the shark\'s fin capital of the world.
Hong Kong is the shark's fin capital of the world.

Prominent hotels and restaurants in the city have been publicly striking shark's fin from their menus, while Hong Kong's main carrier Cathay Pacific also announced a ban on shark's fin cargo last September.

"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," said Cathay Pacific's statement at the time.

The Peninsula Hotels Group bans shark's fin from menus

Approximately 72 million sharks are killed each year and 10,000 tons of fins are traded through Hong Kong.

Conservation groups say there is still far to go in terms of education and awareness.

"We were delighted to hear that Air New Zealand is following suit of the Cathay Pacific announcement," Hong Kong Shark Foundation director Claire Garner told CNN.

"Airlines need to know what they're carrying and how they are impacting environmental sustainability."

"It can be quite tricky in terms of monitoring and managing shipping as shark's fin is transported in a dried form and the packaging can be made to look like other kinds of dried seafood," said Doug Woodring of the Ocean Recovery Alliance in Hong Kong.

"Decisions [like Air New Zealand's] can have a big impact on reducing consumption in Hong Kong."

Fiji-based Air Pacific was another airline that came under fire from environmental groups for carrying shark's fin cargo earlier this month.

A report in Hong Kong's South China Morning Post said the airline had run a contest for Hong Kong weddings that didn't feature shark's fin in the menu (a popular wedding banquet menu item) and offered honeymoon flights to Fiji as the prize.

Air Pacific and New Zealand Shark Alliance were not available for immediate comment.

Shark finning thrives on Hong Kong rooftops

Yao Ming and Richard Branson call for shark's fin ban in China

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
July 14, 2014 -- Updated 0224 GMT (1024 HKT)
Once described as "sterile," the birth city of the iconic Singapore Sling is experiencing a cocktail renaissance.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 0221 GMT (1021 HKT)
A new report says "vertical seats" could allow more passengers onto a plane and cut ticket costs.
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0459 GMT (1259 HKT)
Of course you don't really need that LV trunk that converts into a deluxe shower, but wouldn't it be cool?
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 1843 GMT (0243 HKT)
Travel deals website Travelzoo has released a list of the world's top 10 romantic movie locations.
July 2, 2014 -- Updated 1634 GMT (0034 HKT)
In honor of Canada Day, a look at some of the country's most incredible manmade and natural beauties.
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0617 GMT (1417 HKT)
VW ended Kombi production last year, but the spirit of adventure that endowed the vehicles lives on in Uganda.
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0248 GMT (1048 HKT)
CNN wants to know the wonderful, bizarre and indispensable items you pack when getting ready to hit the road. Tell us #howipack
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 2200 GMT (0600 HKT)
This is what happens when you ask a super-car designer to create a super swanky train.
July 6, 2014 -- Updated 2140 GMT (0540 HKT)
A 666-meter-long bridge shaped like a fire-breathing dragon heralds a new era of prosperity in Da Nang, Vietnam.
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 1249 GMT (2049 HKT)
There's a chance of being trampled or even gored, but thousands flock annually to the Spanish fiesta immortalized by Ernest Hemingway
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 0854 GMT (1654 HKT)
Alcazar castle in Spain will stand in for Water Gardens of Dorne in the popular HBO series.
July 2, 2014 -- Updated 1638 GMT (0038 HKT)
Before you join the masses in the hopes of snapping a geisha on her way to work, it's worth learning a few unwritten rules.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 0808 GMT (1608 HKT)
Baptiste Dubanchet poses with food he's recovered from a trash can.
To highlight food waste, Frenchman travels across Europe fueled only by food recovered from trash cans.
July 2, 2014 -- Updated 0731 GMT (1531 HKT)
Tour companies are cashing in on demand from timid thrill seekers who want to safely experience Bangkok's infamously raunchy nightlife.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1657 GMT (0057 HKT)
Dreading airport security, lost luggage or that middle seat? These travel headaches could be a thing of the past by 2024, according to a new report on the future of travel.
ADVERTISEMENT