Channel NewsAsia

SIA Cargo to stop carrying shark’s fins from August

Wildlife protection groups laud move, while noting the Republic’s position as a trade hub for shark’s fin products.

SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines (SIA) Cargo will stop carrying shark’s fins from August, following similar moves by other airlines in the past two years.

“SIA Cargo carried out a thorough review which took into account increasing concerns around the world related to shark-finning. Following this review, SIA Cargo will no longer accept the carriage of shark’s fins, with effect from Aug 1,” said a SIA spokesperson on Monday (June 30).

SIA Cargo is a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines.

Wildlife protection groups lauded the move, while noting the Republic’s position as a trade hub for shark’s fin products.

A 2013 report by wildlife trade monitoring network, Traffic, showed that Singapore was one of the world’s top four exporters and the third-largest importer of shark’s fins between 2000 to 2009. Hong Kong was the world’s largest importer, responsible for more than half of the imported shark’s fins in the same period, the report said.

Cathay Pacific, a Hong-Kong based airline, was the first airline to stop carrying shark’s fins in late 2012, in response to pressure from various environmental groups in Asia to ban such shipments.

Several other airlines, such as Korean, Asiana, Qantas and Air New Zealand, later followed suit in enforcing restrictions or bans.

An online petition calling for SIA to end its involvement in transporting shark’s fins was launched last year and has attracted more than 45,000 signatures so far.

A Facebook page was also set up this year, calling on pro-shark activists to meet at SIA’s check-in counters in Manila, Sydney, Kuala Lumpur, Los Angeles and Hong Kong on Aug 10, to protest against its shark’s fins cargo policy.

Following SIA Cargo’s policy change, Mr Alex Hofford, director of WildLifeRisk, which is leading the Facebook campaign to get airlines to stop carrying shark’s fins, told TODAY that the SIA event had been cancelled.

Mr Hofford, whose conservation group is based in Hong Kong, told TODAY that they are delighted to see SIA takes its corporate social responsibility seriously.

He said: “This decision is a major milestone in our global campaign to encourage airlines everywhere to go shark-free. The new shark’s fins cargo policy of Singapore Airlines will go a long way in helping the shark populations in South-east Asia recover from the relentless onslaught that they have been suffering at the hands of the shark-fin trade for decades.”

The activists have now set up a Facebook page asking shark advocates to converge at Thai Airways check in-desks at airports on five continents on Aug 10 to protest the airline’s shark’s fin cargo policy.

Ms Elaine Tan, CEO of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Singapore, added: “This is a responsible move that encourages all other airlines flying into Singapore to follow suit. When airlines stop shipping shark’s fins, it directly impacts overall availability and, in turn, lowers consumption, which is a good thing.

“The WWF will keep working hard with industry to remove shark’s fin altogether,” she added.

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