SATA Azores Airlines has joined a coalition of international marine conservation and animal welfare organisations in their efforts to combat the global shark fin trade.
'Fly Without Fins' is a shark protection campaign set up by a coalition of international marine conservation organisations to encourage airlines and shipping lines to help international efforts to prevent the cruel practice of shark finning, as well as to combat the unsustainable trade in shark fins and other parts of cartilaginous fishes.
The 'Fly Without Fins' coalition members includes Shark Guardian, Sciaena, Sea Shepherd, Sharkproject, MarViva, Gallifrey Foundation, Oceanic Preservation Society, Shark Allies and Sharks Education Institute.
By signing the "Fly Without Fins" commitment, SATA group airlines (SATA Air Açores and Azores Airlines) have taken proactive and voluntary sustainability measures against animal cruelty. This means prohibiting the carriage of all shark fins and other parts of any cartilaginous fish as cargo freight.
Although this issue does not directly affect the Azorean Archipelago (SATA Azores Airlines' main destination), which is recognized for its sustainable fishing activities and as one of the most sustainable tourism destinations in Europe, and despite the airlines have never been confronted with this matter until date, SATA Azores Airlines agrees that banning shark fin transportation from all its destinations will contribute to reinforcing this global message and the efforts led by conservation organizations, such as Shark Guardian.
From today, SATA Azores Airlines pledges not to transport shark fins (or parts of cartilaginous fish) as cargo freight.
SATA Group is entirely committed to collaborating with global efforts to defend the environment and protect wildlife.
SATA Group's CEO, Mr Luís Rodrigues, agrees that the commitment to 'Fly Without Fins' represents an extra step that confirms the airline's engagement in global environmental matters, which compromises the future of biodiversity and the planet's ecological balance.
Mr Rodrigues said, "The Azores are recognized as one of the most sustainable European destinations, where sustainable fishing activities are a reality. Nevertheless, in other parts of the world, reality can be different, and as it is, SATA Azores Airlines wants to contribute to 'Fly Without Fins' efforts by discouraging a cruel practice which is threatening shark populations and destroying the balance of different natural habitats".
Alex Hofford, a spokesperson for the 'Fly Without Fins' coalition of NGOs, said, "We sincerely thank SATA for this important commitment to the conservation of global shark populations. As top predators, sharks are vital for healthy marine ecosystems. However, due to decades of overfishing to supply a cruel and unsustainable global shark fin trade, one-third of all shark species are now threatened with extinction. If we want to turn the tide before it is too late, we must act now. That is why we are calling for the commitment and support of more responsible companies like SATA to stop this dangerous game we are playing with our marine environment. We encourage all airlines and shipping lines to adopt a blanket ban on the carriage of all shark fins, especially the fins of Atlantic blue sharks and mako sharks, which are amongst the most heavily traded shark species of all".
Continuing its track towards sustainability, SATA Azores Airlines has also joined the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Environmental Assessment (IEnvA) Program.
Considering this commitment to which many airlines are now signing on, 'Fly Without Fins' will be another important step towards securing a better future for the next generation.