Air China Experiences Dramatic Shift in Attitudes, Bans Shark Fin Transport
BEIJING — Air China has become the first airline in mainland China to ban shark fin cargo, marking a dramatic shift in attitudes toward trade in endangered wildlife here and throwing a lifeline to shark populations threatened with imminent extinction.
The news, released late Friday, came just a week after China announced plans to ban its domestic ivory trade, a landmark decision of vital importance in ending an epidemic of elephant poaching in Africa.
It marks the country’s gradual transformation from being the biggest source of the problem — as the largest market in illegal wildlife products — to becoming a major part of the solution.
“Scientists estimate that fins from up to 73 million sharks a year are used for shark’s fin soup, with much of the trade in shark fin destined for China,” said Alex Hofford, a wildlife activist from the conservation group WildAid in Hong Kong, which applauded Air China for taking “an ethical stance” to help protect sharks and oceans. “It’s a bold move, and this is likely to have a huge and lasting impact on shark populations and marine ecosystems worldwide.”
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