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Air New Zealand puts outright ban on shark fin cargo

Published: 6:45PM Wednesday June 26, 2013 Source: ONE News

Air New Zealand has announced a total ban on carrying shark fins.

Shark fin soup is an expensive delicacy in China and New Zealand is among the top 20 exporters, with the industry pulling in $4.5 million a year.

However, fishermen targeting the lucrative trade are allegedly responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of sharks in local waters, and there is growing pressure on the Government to crack-down on the practice.

Air New Zealand had suspended carrying the product pending a review, and has now announced it will not carry any fins, even if they have been harvested sustainably.

Under New Zealand law, it is legal to catch a shark, kill it, cut off its fins, and dump its unused body overboard. Environmentalists say the Government should use Air New Zealand's example to ban the activity.

Representatives from seven of the eight political parties in Parliament signed a pledge in November last year committing their support for a law change to ban shark finning in New Zealand. However, the National Party refused to sign the pledge.