American Airlines announced via Twitter Wednesday morning that it no longer accepts shipments of shark fins, which were being transported illegally through the United States.
The announcement comes after conservation groups Turtle Island Restoration Network and PRETOMA revealed that American Airlines was transporting shipments of endangered Eastern Pacific Scalloped hammerhead sharks. Originating in Costa Rica and destined for Hong Kong, the shipments were subject to stopovers on United States soil, in violation of the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
“To see American Airlines, a major U.S. airline with extensive influence, publicly acknowledge that they are no longer going to be shipping shark fins is incredible,” said Joanna Nasar, communication manager for Turtle Island Restoration Network. “I applaud them for doing the right thing and hope it will inspire other carriers to take action.”
The Save Our Seas Foundation estimates that up to 73 million sharks are killed annually, many for their fins. While shark finning is prohibited in the United States, Canada, the European Union and Palau, there is still a thriving black market for shark fins.