By: Melissa Cronin
A 6.8-ton shipment of shark fins was discovered en route from the Middle East to Hong Kong, causing shark advocates to demand that the airline involved stop transporting the fins, many of which are likely from endangered sharks. Philippine Airlines is the target of an open letter penned by about 100 groups and individuals, urging the company to publicly commit to ending the trade.
WildlifeRisk, the group spearheading the charge, notes that the “shipping of illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fish, shark and shark products is a serious breach of international law, as well as IATA guidelines (LAR 3.2 Specific Airline Variations).”
The letter reads:
Not all sharks are endangered. However, due to poor regulation of the fishing industry, illegally finned and fins of endangered sharks often end up in shipments. INTERPOL’s Environmental Crime Program has advised that companies transporting these fins may be implicated in a crime. Until the legality and sustainability of sources of shark fin can be adequately accounted for, we recommend all companies involved in logistics to suspend transport of shark fin as a precautionary measure and responsible business practice.
A similar incident occurred last June involving Emirates Airlines, when it was revealed that the company was shipping shark fin from Dubai to Hong Kong. The airlines stopped shipping the product, saying on their website:
Emirates SkyCargo has implemented its decision not to accept shark fins for transport on its flights from June 2013. All our cargo offices on our global network are aware of this decision. Emirates SkyCargo views this as the right and responsible course of action.
Shark advocates hope that Philippines Airlines will follow suit.
You can find out more about the illegal shark fin trade and how to stop it here.
You can see footage of the shipment below. [WARNING: Disturbing images]