(ANIMAL TRADE) HONG KONG — The increasing demand for shark fin in China is contributing to the worldwide decline in the shark population. Hong Kong accounts for half of the global fin trade and last year approximately 10,000 metric tons were imported into the city. When Hong Kong’s largest airline, Cathay Pacific, discovered that 13% of the commodity was transported in by cargo, the company released a ban on shark meat in their planes. The involvement of large corporations leading the way in conservation can redirect the world’s many industries in a more animal-friendly direction. Read more to learn about the airline’s philosophy. — Global Animal
The delicacy of shark fin is popular in China and its high demand is contributing to the decrease in the already dwindling population. Photo Credit: Ken Bondy via Flickr

ABC News, Kevin Chan

Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific says it will stop carrying shark fins as cargo, bowing to pressure from groups concerned about cruelty and possible extinctions as China’s appetite for the delicacy rises.

“Due to the vulnerable nature of sharks, their rapidly declining population, and the impacts of overfishing for their parts and products, our carriage of these is inconsistent with our commitment to sustainable development,” Cathay said in a statement.

Shark’s fin soup has long been a staple of high-class Chinese banquets and its consumption is becoming more commonplace as incomes in China rise.

Cathay is the biggest airline in the southern Chinese city of Hong Kong, which is estimated to account for about half of the global trade in shark fins. The company is also one of the world’s biggest cargo airlines.

“The decision will not have a material impact on business,” spokeswoman Elin Wong said Thursday, but she could not say exactly how much shark’s fin the airline carried.

The airline’s decision comes after it received a letter in July from 40 environmental and humane groups. Citing government statistics, they said more than 10,200 metric tons of shark fin were imported into Hong Kong last year, 13 percent of that by air cargo.

The announcement by Cathay, one of Hong Kong’s blue chip companies, follows similar moves by other high profile groups. The luxury Peninsula and Shangri-la hotel chains have said they would stop serving shark’s fin. In July, the Chinese government said it would stop serving it at official receptions.

More from ABC News:  http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/hks-cathay-pacific-bans-shark-fins-air-cargo-17168764