David Biesack


On Tuesday, American Airlines announced via Twitter that it no longer accepts commercial shipments of shark fin for transport — this after wildlife groups discovered the airline had shipped shark fins from Costa Rica to Asia in December.

An investigation by conservation groups Turtle Island Restoration Network and PRETOMA found that hammerhead sharks had been flown from Costa Rica to Hong Kong SAR via stopovers in the U.S. In a statement, Turtle Island said they presented American with evidence of the fin transport and worked with the carrier on the policy shift.

In response to Twitter inquiries, including one by WildAid Hong Kong SAR campaign manager Alex Hofford, American announced publicly Tuesday that it had stopped accepting shark fin shipments last month. The official end date was originally reported by the company as March 30, and later revised to March 4 in a follow-up tweet. Here’s the transcript:

“We are deeply gratified to see our partner American Airlines acknowledge its ban on shark fin shipments,” Doug Karpa, legal program director of Turtle Island Restoration Network, said in a statement. “American Airlines deserves full credit for taking proactive measures immediately when we came forward with evidence of this trade.”

American has yet to issue a formal statement on the matter, however, as other major carriers including Thai Airways and Etihad Airways have when they announced policy changes on shark fin shipments.

Airlines that had already banned shark fin shipments include Emirates, Asiana Airlines, Korean Airlines, Qantas and Air New Zealand.

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About WildAid

WildAid is a non-profit organization with a mission to protect wildlife from illegal trade and other imminent threats. While most wildlife conservation groups focus on protecting animals from poaching, WildAid primarily works to reduce global consumption of wildlife products such as elephant ivory, rhino horn and shark fin soup. With an unrivaled portfolio of celebrity ambassadors and a global network of media partners, WildAid leverages more than $308 million in annual pro-bono media support with a simple message: When the Buying Stops, the Killing Can Too. 

Journalists on deadline may email communications@wildaid.org