The stage at BOOT in Dusseldorf was the venue for the presentation of this year’s SHARK ENEMY and SHARK GUARDIAN Awards bestowed by SHARKPROJECT, the international shark protection organisation. These are the only shark protection awards worldwide.
31 international ocean protection organisations voted on the award winners; and the result was unanimous:
SHARK GUARDIAN of the Year 2017 is the airline CATHAY PACIFIC with headquarters in Hong Kong.
What led to the award was a strict ban on transporting shark fins on all flights. Cathay Pacific, the state airline of Hong Kong, which operates almost 150 aircraft, has thus assumed a role model function in the international trade hub of Hong Kong. This is where 50 percent of the world trade with shark fins is transacted. Seen against this background, forgoing the transport is an outstanding feat on the part of the global carrier.
Cathay Pacific has set a clear international signal. And it is working: over two dozen other airlines, among them Air China, have followed the example of the SHARK GUARDIAN of the Year.
Sadly, not all major companies live up to their social responsibility. Sustainable economic activity and global nature conservation are ignored, sacrificed to the hunger for profit: SHARK ENEMY of the Year 2017 is the Memphis-based FedEx CORPORATION.
The globally-active courier and logistics corporation, Fed Ex, which operates out of Tennessee, is the world’s largest air freight enterprise. Unfortunately, it has abdicated its responsibility as a global player with regard to global environmental protection: FedEx continues to transport shark fins on a massive scale via its global network. This is why the international jury nominated the company founded by Frederick W. Smith as SHARK ENEMY of the Year. The red card for poor corporate social responsibility is bestowed by 31 ocean protection organisations.
In additional to the two traditional SHARKPROJECT Awards, a Special Prize was awarded in 2017 to Alex Antoniou as SHARK GUARDIAN of the Year 2017.
Effective shark protection does not come cheap. Expeditions and research tours use up huge sums and require complex logistics as well as a lot of personal dedication. Alex Antoniou is the founder and president of the “Fins Attached” the shark protection group from Colorado Springs, Colorado. He set up a network of local scientists in the Eastern Pacific, supplying them at his own expense with tracking technology for research purposes. He is constantly available to the network with help and advice, without any quid pro quo whatsoever.
For example, he supported the environmental organisation Pretoma in Costa Rica in the scientific tracking of hammerhead sharks. In addition to the harpoons used to attach the transmitters to the animals’ fins, he also supplied the expensive tags and receivers. The list of organisations and researchers he supports is a long one. His untiring work was honoured by the jury with a SHARK GUARDIAN of the Year 2017 Special Award.
Pictures (c) Corporations, persons as stated / SHARKPROJECT