In a statement sent to the media, the Azorean airline explains that the measure applies to all flights operated by SATA Air Açores, responsible for air connections between the nine islands, and Azores Airlines, with connections outside the archipelago.
The companies "have joined, through the 'Fly Without Fins' movement, a group of international organisations for the conservation of marine life and the defence of animal welfare", says the airline.
“Fly Without Fins" is an animal protection initiative involving several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) committed to the conservation of animal life in order to prevent "acts of cruelty to animals and combat the sale of shark fins and other cartilaginous fish parts", explains SATA.
The initiative includes associations such as Shark Guardian, Sciaena, Sea Shepherd, Sharkproject, MarViva, Gallifrey Foundation, Oceanic Preservation Society, Shark Allies and Sharks Education Institute.
Although 'finning' (the name given to cutting the fins of sharks and rays and then discarding the bodies into the oceans) is not a practice identified in the Azores archipelago (the destination most operated by SATA), nor have the two airlines been confronted with this issue to date, the company maintains that the transport ban "may help reinforce the global message in defence of safeguarding marine life and contributes to the efforts that have been undertaken at international level".
The chairman of the SATA group, Luís Rodrigues, considers that the commitment now made represents "another step in the implementation of a corporate policy" attentive "to environmental issues and committed to a sustainable future".
"Although the Azores is an internationally recognised sustainable destination, in which there is responsibility and awareness regarding sustainable fishing and preservation of the seas, our airlines fly to varied destinations and we want to make our contribution in the collective effort [to] dissuade a cruel practice, which is a threat to the species and which does not contribute to the balance of the different natural habitats," reinforces the head.
Alex Hofford, a spokesperson for the "Fly without Fins" initiative, says, quoted in the note, that he is grateful for the SATA group's entry into this "important movement".
"The commercialisation of shark fins has led to intensive shark fishing and has meant that a third of the species is now endangered. If we want to counter the trend before it is too late, we must act now," he warned.
Alex Hofford called on airlines to implement measures to ban such transport, especially of Atlantic blue shark and mako shark fins, "the most traded species".