American Airlines Stops Illegally Shipping Shark Fins After Exposure by Conservation Groups

The airline had been shipping shark fins from a known endangered species through the United States to Hong Kong

The transport process was in violation of the 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," Joanna Nasar, communications manager for Turtle Island Restoration Network, said in a statement. “I applaud them for doing the right thing and hope it will inspire other carriers to take action.”American Airlines has stopped aiding in the illegal transport of shark fins from Costa Rica, the airline has announced on Twitter.

Until the shipments were terminated on March 4, the airline had been receiving shipments of shark fins from Costa Rica to the United States — in violation of the United States Endangered Species Act — which were then sent to Hong Kong for preparation in shark fin soup, a controversial delicacy.

The arrangement was first brought to light through an investigation conducted by the conservation groups Turtle Island Restoration Network and PRETOMA, which discovered that Eastern Pacific scalloped hammerhead sharks, a known endangered species, were being exported through the United States.

“We warned the Costa Rican officials that these exports would occur in violation of the ESA, but the higher authorities of the Ministry of Environment decided to proceed with the exports anyway,” said Randall Arauz of PRETOMA.  “We blew the whistle and alerted the U.S. authorities as well, with no positive response either.”

On Wednesday, April 8, in response to a tweet from Ikatere, a marine environment sustainability NGO, American Airlines clarified that the company had stopped accepting the illegal shipments as of March 4.

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