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September 5, 2012

HSI Congratulates Cathay Pacific Airways for Decision to Cease Shark Fin Shipments

Petition urged the airline to set an example for the sake of shark populations

Humane Society International

  • Cathay Pacific Airways' move is a significant victory in the fight against shark finning. Michael Stubblefield/istock

Iris Ho, wildlife campaigns manager for Humane Society International, issued the following statement in response to the decision by Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways to halt shipments of shark fins and shark products on its flights.

"Humane Society International applauds Cathay Pacific Airways and its leadership position in recognizing that the global shark fin trade is unsustainable, cruel and causes peril to many shark species. The decision affirms Cathay Pacific’s environmental and humane stewardship within the air cargo and shipping industry. With its company headquarters in Hong Kong, which is the hub for the global shark fin trade, the decision should encourage others in the industry to follow suit."


  • HSI is one of 40 international environmental and animal welfare organizations that submitted a petition to Cathay Pacific Airways in July, requesting it stop carrying shark fin and related products.
  • Hong Kong government data indicates that more than 10,200 tonnes of shark fin were imported into Hong Kong in 2011, with 13 percent of that by air cargo. An estimated 20 percent to 50 percent was flown in on Cathay Pacific Cargo.
  • HSI has ongoing public education campaigns in Hong Kong with local partner groups to increase awareness and support for sharks.
  • Fins from as many as 73 million sharks are used to feed the demand for shark fin soup each year. At least 50 percent of the global trade in sharks takes place in Hong Kong.
  • Tens of millions of sharks have their fins cut off and are thrown back into the ocean, often while still alive, only to drown, starve or die a slow death due to predation from other animals. Some species of shark are on the brink of extinction due to the cruel and exploitative shark fin industry.
  • Sharks are apex predators who are slow to reproduce and whose survival affects all other marine species and entire ocean ecosystems. The practice of shark finning is global and has led to a severe decline in shark populations.


Media Contact: Rebecca Basu, 240-753-4875, rbasu@humanesociety.org

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Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organizations—backed by 11 million people. For nearly 20 years, HSI has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide—On the Web at hsi.org.