Cathay Pacific and sister airline Dragonair have decided to impose a ban on the carriage of shark fin with immediate effect, the South China Morning Post reported, adding that the airline did not impose an outright ban but instead set up a panel of experts to decide on a case-by-case basis whether each shipment was from a sustainable source.
Early reports said the ban extended to all shark products on cargo and passenger flights, but the airline told the BBC it currently applied to shark fin only.
With the ban, the carriers join budget airline HK Express, which became the first local airline to axe shark fin shipments last month. It leaves Hong Kong Airlines as the only Hong Kong-based carrier to establish a position on shark fins.
Cargo carriers react to growing protests against shark killing
Cathay in recent weeks had come under renewed pressure from conservationists over a policy of carrying "sustainable" fins, with protests at the airline's check-in desks at Hong Kong International Airport, to children petitioning airline executives.
More than 70 million sharks are killed every year, according to WWF figures. Large numbers are exported to Hong Kong, where they are consumed or further exported to mainland China.
According to government data, shark fin imports to Hong Kong dropped by 42% between 2010 and 2015 to 5,717 tonnes. During this period there was also a 72% drop in imports by air to 450 tonnes.
Cathay and Dragonair join the likes of British Airways, American Airlines, Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Emirates in banning shark fin.
Nol van Fenema
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