By Vijay Singh
MUMBAI: Jet Airways has instituted a policy against the shipment of shark fins, joining a growing number of major international carriers committed to protecting declining shark populations and marine ecosystems. Humane Society International/India, which along with animal welfare and conservation groups had petitioned Jet Airways to end its role in the international trade in shark fins, applauded the policy.
In a statement responding to the appeal from HSI/India, Jet Airways said, "After concluding a comprehensive and careful review including concerns related to shark finning globally, Jet Airways Cargo implemented a ban on the carriage of shark fin. This policy was made effective."
Chemudupati Samyukta, wildlife campaign manager for HSI/India, said: "As top predators, sharks are important to the survival and maintenance of healthy marine ecosystems. We are thrilled that Jet Airways has taken this environmentally responsible decision. We are certain that it shall go a long way in the ongoing efforts around the globe to protect these keystone species."
Research has repeatedly pointed to the fact that India is the world's second largest shark catching nation and one of the world's largest exporters of shark fins. Reports have further revealed that the shark fin trade is today one of the leading contributors to the decimation of shark populations globally. Trade reports and undercover investigations have revealed that shark fins are most commonly transported from India to places like Hong Kong, Dubai and China as cargo on airlines.
"Owing to the difficulty in identifying the species from the fins alone and due to existing loopholes in the listing of wildlife products as per customs regulations, traders have so far been carrying out this trade without much interference. This ban by Jet Airways shall act as an effective deterrent to the trade. Hence, we hope that Jet Airways' policy decision shall set a golden example for all other airlines to emulate," Jayasimha said.
By instituting this ban against the carriage of shark fins, Jet Airways has joined the growing league of environmentally conscious airlines such as Emirates, Philippines Airlines, Korean Airlines, Asiana Airlines, Qantas and Air New Zealand, all of whom have made a public commitment to stop carrying shark fins. In June 2014, Etihad Airways, which holds a 24 percent minority stake in Jet Airways, had also announced its decision to ban shark as well as live primate shipment.