Singapore Airlines Cuts Out Shipping Shark Fins

Shark finning is drastically effecting shark populations everywhere. Photo Credit: blamethepeople via Flickr

(SHARKS/SHARK FINNING) SINGAPORE — Effective August 1, Singapore Airlines will cease active involvement in the shipment of shark fins in response to a boycott led by Alex Hofford of the environmental organization WildlifeRisk.

Their decision closely follows that of the Philippine Airlines in April earlier this year. The world’s seventh largest airline company, Singapore Airlines’ resolution is a major stride towards shutting down the industry as a whole. Read the full article below for more details. — Global Animal

Shark finning is drastically effecting shark populations everywhere. Photo Credit: blamethepeople via Flickr
Shark finning is drastically impacting shark numbers across the globe. Photo Credit: blamethepeople via Flickr

Nature World News, Jenna Iacurci

After much public outcry, a major Singapore Airline has agreed to stop shipping shark fins.

The boycott, led by Alex Hofford of the environmental organization WildlifeRisk, received confirmation of the airline’s decision on Twitter:

“Following a thorough review, SIA Cargo will no longer accept the carriage of #sharkfin, with effect from 1 Aug 2014.”

Shark finning, the Smithsonian Institute describes, is the cruel fishing practice of slicing off a shark’s fin and discarding the rest of the still-living body, often by dumping it back into the ocean. Every year, humans kill an estimated 100 million sharks, and 26 to 73 million of those deaths can be contributed to the shark fin trade.

Sharks are tempting targets for fisherman due to their cultural and monetary value – they are the main part of a popular Chinese dish called shark fin soup. And the fins – which are only one to five percent of a shark’s weight – are the most valuable part, selling for around $500 a pound.

Singapore Airlines, the world’s seventh largest airline company and a major shipping hub for shark fin, is at last taking a stand against the brutal trade.

“The Singapore Airlines shark fin cargo ban is obviously great news as Singapore is a regional hub for shark fin. Not only is the city one of the world’s top five shark fin importing countries, but it’s also one of the world’s top five exporting countries too,” Hofford told The Dodo. “And most significantly, the Singapore Airlines shark fin ban removes one more link from the supply chain of shark fin to the world’s shark fin capital, Hong Kong.”

SIA Cargo is the second company to drop shark fin recently, after Philippines Airlines took the same action in April. Now, 21 airlines say they are prepared to implement full bans on shark finning.

Such companies need to take into account that shark finning does not just negatively impact shark populations – some shark populations have decreased by 60 to 70 percent due to human shark fisheries – but the entire ecosystem as well.

“When shark populations decrease, a ripple effect can spread throughout the rest of the ecosystem. For instance, the loss of the smooth hammerhead caused their prey, rays, to increase. The larger ray population now eats more scallops, clams, and other bivalves. This not only hurts the bivalve populations and therefore the biodiversity of the ecosystem; it also harms human fisheries,” the Smithsonian wrote.

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