Sharks have thrived on Earth for 400 million years – since before the dinosaurs! But their numbers are falling fast due to overfishing. Every year, more than 100 million sharks and rays are caught for their fins, meat, leather, liver oil and cartilage. Sometimes they are even unintentionally caught up in fishing lines set for other types of fish, such as tuna.
In southern China, shark’s fin soup is a luxury dish served at wedding banquets and special occasions to show the host’s wealth and generosity. Fins can fetch up to US$20,000 each! But the rest of the shark is not as valuable, so fishermen simply remove the fins whilst at sea and dump the shark overboard, where, unable to swim, it slowly dies.
So why do sharks matter? Well, they sit at the top of food chain and play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of marine ecosystems. Declining shark populations are already having an impact on the coral reefs that millions of people around the world depend on for food and livelihoods.
Three ways we’re addressing this issue:
- Our people: Cathay issued its Sustainable Food Policy in 2011, which states that we will not serve shark’s fin – or any other endangered species – at our offices or any company events.
- Passengers: We don’t serve shark’s fin on our flights either, and where possible, we make sure the seafood we do serve is certified. In 2017, we purchased over 370 tonnes of certified sustainable seafood.
- Cargo: Cathay has been working with various NGO and stakeholder groups to protect sharks for years. In 2016, we announced the complete ban for the carriage of shark’s fin on all Cathay flights. Check out our Sustainable Development Cargo Carriage Policy here.