Garuda Indonesia, who operates in airports in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Australia, and the UK, had previously transported 36 tons of shark fin products a year, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) identified Indonesia as the largest shark-fin producing country in the world, killing approximately 109,000 sharks per year from 2000 to 2008. According to government estimates, Indonesia exported a total of 434 tons of shark fins in 2012, with a value of $6 million.
WWF–Indonesia, who helped campaign for Garuda’s ban, have described it as a “major step forward.” Nazir Foead, WWF–Indonesia’s conservation director, says, “WWF–Indonesia commends this move by Garuda Indonesia. Their policy to cease transporting shark fin products is a positive step that should generate further momentum in the shark conservation movement.”
This is a highly encouraging sign, especially as it comes so soon after New Zealand announced their ban on shark finning. Other parts of the world have also taken a stand against shark finning. The European Union, for instance, banned the practice in 2012, while creative social media campaigns and art installations in China have recently helped lower the demand for shark fin soup.
However, the soup remains popular in other areas of the world – causing the deaths of over 100 million sharks every year – and we Green Monsters cannot afford to become complacent.
To learn more about the practice of shark finning (and to share this information with friends and family), check out our post, “7 Alarming Facts About the Shark Fin Trade“.
Image Source: steve.garner32 / Flickr