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Fiji's Air Pacific bans 'unsustainable' shark fins

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Fiji's national carrier Air Pacific announced Monday it will no longer carry shark fins that come from unsustainable or unverified sources.

The airline said it had carried out a month-long review of its freight policies and decided to only accept shark products from sustainable sources which did not involve threatened species.

"This is consistent with our overriding commitment to environmental protection and conservation efforts in Fiji," acting chief executive Aubrey Swift said in a statement.

The move comes after environmentalists had criticised the airline for flying shark fins to Hong Kong, where it is used in shark-fin soup, which is regarded as a delicacy.

Swift said the airline would closely monitor shipments of shark products from the Pacific nation, effective immediately.

"We will now work with conservation partners and the fishing industry to prepare and implement policies and processes that will ensure that future shipments are sustainably sourced," he said.

Shark-fin soup was once a luxury enjoyed just by China's elite, but as the country has grown wealthier demand has boomed, placing pressure on shark populations.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates humans kill about 100 million sharks each year, placing dozens of species under threat.

Last week South Korea's two largest airlines, Korean Air and Asiana, said they had both decided to ban shark fin from their cargo flights.

Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific stopped shipping shark fin as cargo last September.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130624/fijis-air-pacific-bans-unsustainable-shark-fins