A letter of complaint from conservation activists WildAid has prompted the sudden withdrawal of China’s biggest shipping company from carrying shark-fins – dealing the international sharkfin trade what regional press describes as “a body-blow”.
Cosco Shipping moved quickly to pledge implementation of a no-sharkfin policy in response to the call from the Hong Kong arm of the US wildlife conservation group for it to act “legally, ethically and morally”. This followed discovery earlier this month of almost a tonne of fins from endangered hammerhead sharks in a container aboard a Cosco vessel.
Cosco is the world’s fourth-largest container operator, with 7.7% market share, and its Director and President Wan Min stated that he was committed to global environmental protection where “no shark-fin-related products are carried by our vessels through stricter monitoring and regulation”.
The move was applauded by WildAid Hong Kong campaigner Alex Hofford. “By acting responsibly and with great stewardship of our oceans, Cosco Shipping has joined the ranks of all the other major global container shipping lines by banning shark-fin from its vessels with immediate effect,” he said.
Hong Kong accounts for half of the global shark-fin trade annually but, including Cosco, 68% of global shipping firms are now said to have signed up to a no-shark-fin carriage policy.
With 17 container shipping lines, 34 airlines and international courier UPS having committed, WildAid has turned its attention to FedEx and says that pressure is growing on the US courier.
As Hofford points out: “A mainland Chinese conglomerate has shown FedEx how quickly a shark-fin ban can be implemented, if the will to do so is there at management level.”
DIVERNET – The Biggest Online Resource for Scuba Divers