Singapore Airlines ends shipments of shark fins

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 June, 2014, 5:51am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 June, 2014, 5:51am

Singapore Airlines has bowed to pressure from conservationists by agreeing to end cargo shipments of shark fins.

The city state's national airline said it considered "increasing concerns" about the shark fin trade.

"SIA Cargo has been carrying out a thorough review, taking into account the increasing concerns around the world related to shark finning.

"With effect from August 1, it will no longer accept the carriage of shark fin," Nicholas Ionides, vice-president of public affairs at the airline, said in an e-mail.

The airline had been threatened with a protest by 350 shark fin protesters at its check-in counters in Singapore, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Kuala Lumpur.

At least five airlines have followed Cathay Pacific's lead in restricting or banning shark fin shipments over the past two years, with Korean, Asiana, Qantas and Air New Zealand enforcing a blanket ban.

Conservationists celebrated Singapore's move, including Hong Kong-based WildLifeRisk director Alex Hofford, who led the campaign.

"We are delighted at Singapore Airlines' commendable decision to stop shipping shark fin," he said. "It's a really significant victory by taking out one more link in the supply chain to Hong Kong."

A 2009 report by Traffic, the wildlife trade monitoring network, showed Singapore to be one of the top four exporters of shark fins and the third largest importer.

Since last August, a petition calling on SIA to end its involvement in transporting shark fins has attracted 50,000 signatures.

Hofford said the airline had been silent until a day of protest scheduled for August 10 was announced on Facebook.

Last week, Etihad Airways and Air Seychelles became the 21st and 22nd airlines to ban shipments of shark fins.

Conservationists are now turning their attention to Thai Airways, calling on executives to end their links to the trade.