China's biggest shipping line Cosco pledges total ban on shark's fin

Chinese logistics company Cosco has pledged a total ban on transporting shark's fins.
Chinese logistics company Cosco has pledged a total ban on transporting shark's fins.PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG - China's biggest shipping and logistics company Cosco has pledged a total ban on transporting shark's fins, the Sunday Morning Post reported. It called the move a "body blow" to the international shark's fin trade.

The company made the promise in a letter addressed to the Hong Kong branch of the US-based wildlife conservation group WildAid, the report said, in response to the latter's protest over the company's continued transportation of the fins.

Mr Wan Min, director and president of Cosco Shipping, said in the letter he was committed to global environmental protection where "no shark-fin-related products are carried by our vessels through stricter monitoring and regulation".

"We also pledge to implement the 'No Shark Fin' carriage ­policies as other container lines," he said according to the Sunday Morning Post.

Kang Bingjian, a company spokesman, confirmed the letter and the policy change with the Post, but could not give a time frame for the move.

Hong Kong accounts for half of the global shark's fin trade annually. Of that, some 90 per cent is imported by ship.

But imports fell by 42 per cent between 2010 and 2015 to 5,717 tonnes as 68 per cent of shipping firms have committed to stop carrying shark's fins.

Cosco Shipping is the world's fourth-largest container operator with 7.7 per cent of market share.

Earlier this month, 880kg of endangered hammerhead shark's fin were discovered on board a vessel arriving from Panama owned by Cosco Shipping, prompting WildAid's Alex Hofford to write to the company on July 15 urging it to "follow its industry competitors by acting legally, ethically and morally".

Mr Hofford praised the speed at which the shipping giant responded to his letter.

"They listened with great care to the concerns of the public, and reacted quickly to the very real threats of shark extinction we described to them, for which we applaud them to the highest degree," he was quoted by the Post as saying.

Ms Tracy Tsang, WWF-Hong Kong's senior programme officer for sharks, said: "Cosco will help to significantly reduce the shark's fin trade in Hong Kong and internationally."