Press Release: For Immediate Distribution
David McGuire, Shark Stewards
San Francisco CA, October 5, 2015
Malaysia Airlines Berhad establishes policy for Shark and wildlife Sustainability by banning shark fin and other wildlife products as cargo on all flights.
In a statement dated September 19, 2015, Malaysia Berhad (MAB) has announced an immediate ban on the transportation of unsustainable and endangered animal products, including shark fins and shark related products on all passenger and cargo flights operated by Malaysia Airlines. The air carrier has worked with ocean conservation groups lead by Shark Stewards establishing a policy to ban shipment of Trophy Hunter, Shark Fins, Shark Products and Primates on all Malaysia Berhad Flights.
“MAB pledges full support for international governments, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations that are managing wildlife populations and will work cooperatively towards eliminating illegal transportation of protected species worldwide and saving wildlife heritage,” said Chief Executive Christopher Mueller in a statement released to the shark conservation group Shark Stewards.
Shark Stewards, participating in similar campaigns with other organizations like WWF Hong Kong, has successfully urged other airlines to adopt similar policies. A petition directed at MAB to ban shark fin as cargo during Malaysian Shark Week early September garnered over 11,000 supporters.
Shark fin consumption encourages the cruel practice of finning, the removal of fins from live sharks that are then thrown back into the sea, putting shark populations at risk and driving overfishing of sharks. It is estimated that 100 Million sharks are killed each year, primarily to support the demand for shark fin to make the delicacy shark fin soup.
“By making this statement, MAB is taking a major step in eliminating the trade of illegal and unsustainable shark fins, and is helping save sharks from extinction,” said David McGuire, Director of Shark Stewards.
According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 25% of all sharks and rays are threatened with extinction worldwide. Malaysia is reported to be number three in the shark fin imports/exports internationally in 2012 by an IUCN working group. Independent surveys conducted by Malaysian wildlife groups indicate 90% of large shark species have disappeared from Malaysian waters, and shark fin is widely consumed in major cities in Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo.
“Despite statements issued to the contrary, Malaysia has a major shark fishing and shark fin consumption and trade problem. With some of the most biodiverse and threatened coral reef ecosystems in the world, we urge the government and businesses to follow MAB’s lead and increase protections for sharks in Malaysia,” said McGuire.
The ban decreases choices for shippers of shark fin products. At least 31 global airlines, including Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Lufthansa, have imposed a blanket ban on the cargo. Cathay Pacific Airways and Dragonair operate a sustainable shark-fin policy, which means they will not carry products from unsustainable sources.
About Shark Stewards
Founded in 1996 to combat the shark fin trade, Shark Stewards has successfully introduced laws to ban the trade of shark fin in California and other US states. Their work includes developing better fishing policy to limit bycatch of sharks and to stop shark finning in developing nations. Shark Stewards is a member of the Sabah Shark Protection Association and working to limit the shark fin trade and consumption in Malaysia and SE Asia, and protect sharks through shark sanctuaries in Sabah.
Their work has spread across the Pacific to establish marine protected areas and shark sanctuaries to protect top predators and marine ecosystems. Shark Stewards is a non-profit project of the Earth Island Institute. www.sharkstewards.org