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Loopholes Increase Risks of Shark Fin Carriage WWF releases first guidelines to facilitate shark fin-free shipments
WWF-Hong Kong has published the first-ever “No Shark Fin Carriage Policy Implementation Guidelines” (the Guidelines), a tool to help companies in the logistics sector, including shipping companies, identify high risk shark fin shipments.
Seventeen (17) shipping companies* representing 80 per cent of global market share have adopted a no shark fin carriage policy in the past two years. Yet, the conservation achievement made by these global leaders is not reflected in the latest shark fin trade volume, which remained high in 2016 with over 5,700 tonnes imported to Hong Kong. Ninety (90) per cent (by volume) of the shipments came through its port, according to the Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong SAR.
The Guidelines identify some key challenges and loopholes in the implementation of the policy, for example, high-risk language and keywords. The terms “shark” and “shark fin” may not be used by traders in the commodity descriptions and the existing screening system may not be able to identify shark fin written in other languages, increasing the chances of unintentional shipments.
“Even though shipping companies have been doing a great job taking the first steps to stop shark fin carriage, effective implementation is the key to improve conservation. The Guidelines are the ‘missing link’ to more effectively block the supply chain. As companies and as individuals, we can all bring shark fin consumption to a halt.” Tracy Tsang, WWF-Hong Kong’s senior programme officer for Oceans Sustainability said.
The Guidelines also contain information about top shark fin trading partners with Hong Kong as of 2016 and a map of frequent shark fin loading ports to help shipping companies better implement their no shark fin carriage policy. Also, they recommend companies require traders to provide a World Customs Organization Harmonized System code (WCO HS code) when making shipment orders. The training of frontline staff to spot warning signs can also facilitate the implementation of the policy and enhance a sustainable future for world’s shark species.
Among the world’s largest liner fleets, MSC has taken a solid first step in shark conservation. “MSC supports the preservation of marine wildlife and placed a ban on shark fin carriage in January 2016. Together with other global ocean carriers we are a firm supporter of initiatives to protect endangered shark species.” Philip Cheng, General Manager, Trade, Sales and Corporate Account Export Department (HK/SPRC/Taiwan) of MSC (Hong Kong) said.
* Shipping companies which have established their no shark fin carriage policy:
Maersk, MSC, CMA CGM, COSCO, Hapag-Lloyd, OOCL, Yang Ming, NYK Line, Hamburg Süd, MOL, PIL, HMM, ‘K’ Line, ZIM, Wan Hai, T.S. Lines, Interasia
Evergreen Line accepts shark fin shipments with CITES permit.