Shark fin soup has long been a staple at banquets across Asia, but the common method for collecting those fins has put conservationists on a campaign to eradicate the dish.
Shark finning involves cutting off sharks’ fins and then throwing the fish back into the ocean, leaving it unable to move. The fish usually die afterwards.
A recent decision to target the supply chain is making for fresh progress in combating the practice.
CCTV’s Pamela Ambler reports from Hong Kong.
More carriers banning transport of shark finMore and more companies are bowing to the increased pressure from environmentalists to cut their ties to an Asian delicacy that's become synonymous with controversy. CCTV's Pamela Ambler reports from Hong Kong.
Calls to end shark finning have become more vocal in recent years, which has taken a big bite out of the global trade.
In Hong Kong, imports of shark fins fell more than 40 percent between 2010 and 2015.
However, the dish remains a favorite for special occasions like weddings – 5,700 tons of the delicacy still passed through the city last year.
As part of a renewed effort to combat finning, conservationists are now targeting the supply chain.
This spring, wildlife activists began staging demonstrations at Cathay Pacific’s check-in counters. Last month, the carrier announced it would ban the transport of shark fins on all of its aircraft.
The move followed similar bans by several other major airlines, as well as budget carrier Hong Kong Express.
In what can be seen as a win for conservationists, a total of 38 international airlines worldwide have pledged to ax the transport of fins. But air cargo accounts for just a fraction of the local trade. 92 percent of shark fins imported into Hong Kong come by sea.
Sixteen of the biggest shipping companies in the world have imposed strict “no shark fin” carriage policies.
Logistics giant United Parcel Service, however, caved in to the cause last year after shippers in Costa Rica were found smuggling endangered hammerhead shark fins through its network. Its rival FedEx is holding out, despite pressure on the company to act, saying it only ships fins from legally harvested sharks, as permitted under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
As more and more companies are bowing to the increased pressure from environmentalists to cut their ties to an Asian delicacy that’s become synonymous with controversy, it is a matter of time until companies like FedEx comply too.
Lora Snyder discusses the shark fin trade
For more on the shark fin controversy and the legal status of shark fin trade in the United States, CCTV America’s Michelle Makori spoke to Lora Snyder, campaign director of Oceana, an organization focusing on protecting the world’s oceans.