China’s national flag carrier has become the first airline in mainland China to say ‘just say no’ to shark fin cargo.
Air China made the announcement last week, coming on the heels of China’s move to ban its domestic ivory trade by the end of 2017. The move is seen a big step for a country that’s the world’s biggest market for illegal wildlife products, and great news for sharks everywhere.
“It’s a massive step in the right direction for shark conservation,” said Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation Communications Coordinator Louisa Gibson. “73 million sharks per year are killed for shark fin soup, and the large majority is going to China and the orient. So when one of their biggest flag carriers, Air China, stops transporting shark fin, people start to listen, the message starts to get across.”
Shark fin soup dates back to the Ming dynasty, but gained popularity in the 18th and 19th century because it symbolises wealth and prestige.
Last year, China issued data showing shark fin imports had declined by 82% between 2011 and 2014.