CAPTION: Air Pacific’s acting CEO Aubrey Swift, left, with tourism minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in Nadi last Friday. Photo: SHALENDRA PRASAD.
Air Pacific, Fiji’s national airline, has today announced a ban on the carriage of shark fins and shark-related products sourced from unsustainable and unverified sources.
In future, the airline will only accept shipments of such products from sustainable sources – where individual shark species are not threatened – and will work with stakeholders to institute an independently verifiable process to achieve this.
Air Pacific’s Acting CEO, Aubrey Swift, said the airline has conducted a month-long review of its freight policies relating to the carriage of shark and shark-related products.
“We have always understood that this is a sensitive and important matter. Notwithstanding the gross inaccuracies and misleading reporting about this issue by some sections of the media, we recognise and accept our responsibilities on environmental and conservation issues and take them very seriously”, he said.
During its review, the airline held discussions with freight forwarders, suppliers and the fishing industry, and sought the expertise of conservation organisations.
“Our findings indicate that Fijian-licensed vessels have documented standards in place on how to effectively manage this issue. The situation is not so clear for unlicensed or foreign vessels”, he said.
“After taking into account various considerations, our review highlights that we need clearer and stricter policies in place to ensure that suppliers only ship sustainably–sourced shark products. This is consistent with our overriding commitment to environmental protection and conservation efforts in Fiji.”
“We believe a ban on the shipment of unsustainably-sourced shark fins is the right thing to do, and have implemented this policy 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”, Mr Swift added.