Ten survivors of shark attacks from six different countries met at the United Nations yesterday to support shark conservation. The survivors turned advocates are pushing for nations to end the fishing of sharks threatened with extinction, and stop the practice of finning.
Finning is when a fisherman slices off the shark's fins and dumps the animal back into the water where it drowns or bleeds to death. The practice kills an estimated 73 million sharks a year. The fishermen sell the fins to use in shark fin soup, which is considered a delicacy in Asia.
Thirty percent of shark and ray species are now threatened with extinction. Sharks are slow growing, late to mature and produce few young, making it difficult to replenish their population quickly.
"Regardless of what an animal does according to its base instincts of survival, it has its place in our world," said Paul de Gelder, of Sydney, Australia who lost his right hand and right lower leg in an attack last year. "We have an obligation to protect and maintain the natural balance of our delicate ecosystems."
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Photo credit: cc: flickr.com/photos/rling