A group of shark attack survivors in the U.S. are defending the very species that nearly killed them…
The group has been lobbying Congress to close loopholes in the nation’s shark fin ban. And it’s using a recent study by the Pew Environment Group on which to base its data. The Chinese delicacy was studied using 32 samples of identifiable shark DNA from across the United States. The results showed that 26 bowls (or 81 percent) contained fins from sharks listed as endangered, vulnerable or near threatened. The study was based on shark soup tests in 14 U.S. cities. And it was shark attack survivors who collected all the samples.
Ultimately, the survivors hope the study will convince the public that the ultimate price of shark fin soup is more than the pricey $100 listed on menus.
Pew says nearly one-third of shark species are in danger of extinction. And up to 73 million sharks are killed each year for their fins.
U.S. President Barack Obama signed a law last year to tighten a ban on the practice of removing sharks’ fins and throwing the fish back into the ocean to die.
Back in 1993, a tiger shark ripped off the right leg of Mike Coots. He is a 32-year-old surfer in Kauai, Hawaii. He says, “What better voice is there than ours?”
Apart from lobbying Congress, the campaigners are trying to capture the attention of the United Nations. They’ve been rallying the international organization to create shark sanctuaries around the world.
This entire campaign was originally triggered by the tragedy that struck Debbie Salamone. She is a competitive ballroom dancer, who had her Achilles tendon severed by a shark off Florida’s coast in 2004. That encounter led her to refocus her career. She’s been trying to protect the animals from extinction and has been recruiting other shark attack survivors to help with her mission.
Salamone, 46, is now a spokesperson for Pew. She says, “Most of us have forgiven. If you care about the ocean, you need to care about sharks.”
Photo by NOAA’s National Ocean Service