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Mon May 25 19:33:33 SAST 2015

South Korean airlines ban shark fin as cargo

Sapa-AFP | 20 June, 2013 10:55
Workers lay out pieces of shark fin to dry on a rooftop of a factory building in Hong Kong. File photo.
Image by: BOBBY YIP / REUTERS

South Korea's two largest airlines, Korean Air and Asiana, said Thursday they had both decided to ban shark fin from their cargo flights as part of a growing global campaign against the Asian delicacy.

Korean Air, which flies to 45 countries, said in a statement that it had stopped shipping shark fin from June 10.

"Korean Air has joined a campaign to protect an ecological system by imposing a complete ban on the shipment of shark fin," the statement said.

Asiana, the country's second largest airline, said it was following suit.

"Our airline has decided to stop shipping shark fin," an Asiana spokeswoman told AFP, without saying when the ban would be enforced.

Shark fin soup is served by many hotels and Chinese restaurants in South Korea and is a staple at wedding banquets and corporate parties.

Global shark populations have been decimated by the trade. Humans kill about 100 million sharks each year, mostly for their fins, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, which says 90 percent have disappeared over the past 100 years.

The move brings Korean Air and Asiana into line with a number of other Asian carriers, including Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific which stopped shipping shark fin as cargo last September.

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