HONG KONG (CHINA)- Air Pacific, soon to be Fiji Air, has been accused by environmentalist groups of of being one of the world’s major carriers of shark fins into Hong Kong. The airline profiles itself as ‘shark friendly’.

Campaigners claim that the airline carries shark fins as cargo on its passenger flights. 

A letter signed by a coalition of environmental groups — amongst others Ric O’Barry, star of The Cove — claims that a ‘substantial amount’ of the fins imported into Hong Kong last year arrived on Air Pacific planes.

A report by the South China Morning Post says that according to a group of pilots familiar with Air Pacific’s operations, the airline’s new Airbus A330 was “basically a thinly-disguised freighter” carrying shark fins to the territory from Pacific islands, which use Fiji as a trade hub.

Air Pacific claims to be ‘shark-friendly’, and recently sponsored a competition called Happy Hearts Love Sharks, run by the Hong Kong Shark Foundation. This campaign encourages newlyweds to abandon the traditional shark fin soup at their weddings.

On its website the company proclaimed how proud it was to support the competition, saying “shark tourism is an important source of revenue for the local economy.”

 The competition winners were given a honeymoon in Fiji, courtesy of the sponsors.

The Hong Kong Shark Foundation believes that shark fins from the Cook Islands and Vanuatu were shipped to Fiji and appeared to be making their way to Hong Kong on Air Pacific flights, many of them to be sold on to the mainland China market.

Read more at South China Morning Post.