The China Ocean Shipping Company or Cosco has taken a pledge against shipping products for the shark fin industry after a load of shark fins weighing 880 kg was found on one of their ships arriving from Panama. The shark fins were also from endangered hammerhead sharks.
Cosco is the world’s fourth largest container operator behind after APM-Maersk, CMA CGM Group, and Mediterranean Shg Co. respectively. Maersk was the first of the big four to refuse carrying any shark fin products on any of their ships. With the addition of Cosco that means 68% of the industry has outlawed the practice.
“In all aspects of our operations the Maersk Group always strives to run our businesses in a responsible way. We are committed to work collaboratively with all industry stakeholders to take practical steps to combat the illegal transport of wildlife products like sharks fin, and to raise awareness so that effective measures can be put in place to address the problem,” said Tim Smith, the Maersk group’s Chief Representative in North China and Chairman of Maersk China.
Costa Rica has a very mixed public image when it comes to shark conservation. Two Costa Rican Presidents, Abel Pacheco and Luis Guillermo Solís, have been deemed an “award” called Shark Enemy of The Year by a international conversation group Sharkproject International. However, President Laura Chinchilla received the Shark Guardian of The Year award for breaking down much of Costa Rica’s shark finning industry which at the time was rampant.
Solís received the award after his promise to the fishing industry that he would not support shark protections in international conventions. He did not attend the “awards ceremony” in line with most of the recipients.
According to The World Wildlife Fund, WWF, Hong Kong imports over 50% of shark fins being traded in the industry and of that 92% are imported by boat. WWF Hong Kong’s senior programme officer for sharks, Tracy Tsang Chui-chi, said “Cosco will help to significantly reduce the shark fin trade in Hong Kong and internationally”.