Sharks are an endangered marine species and a growing number of Asia-Pacific airlines are banning the carriage of their fins as cargo. On Wednesday, Korean Air announced a ban on the carriage of shark fins on its cargo flights. Korean’s move was followed by a similar announcement from Asiana Airlines. Airlines previously banning shark fins include Cathay Pacific and Air New Zealand.
Previously, Korean Air carried shark fins only under the condition that a valid CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) permit was fully obtained by the customer from the related national management authority.
However, in announcing its ban, the airline cited a recent series of global movements calling to ban the carriage of shark fins including the recent conference of CITES held in Thailand which brought five shark species under CITES controls by declaring them threatened species. The New York State assembly also recently agreed to ban the trade of shark fins.
As shark fins are one of the rare items that have been traded for high prices in global markets (1kg=approx. US$800), shark fishery managers have been “finning” sharks, the practice of slicing off sharks’ fins and leaving them back to the sea. An estimated 73 million sharks around the world are finned each year.
Korean Air will officially submit its regulation of banning the carriage of shark and related products to LAR (Live Animal Regulations) through IATA (International Air Transport Association) and will continue to participate in various movements to protect global ecosystem.