Photo via Kevin Burkett via Flickr CC
Surviving a shark attack is traumatic. But so is having your species and every species like you edging closer to extinction. Luckily, at least 9 humans recognize this and, despite the fact that they've been attacked by sharks, are gathering in Washington DC to lobby Congress for tighter regulations protecting the predators vital to our oceans' health. Organized by a shark bite survivor-turned-activist, at least 9 survivors are hoping to convince the Senate to pass a bill that would outlaw shark finning in the US. The bill has already passed the House, and federal fisheries managers who support it say it will make existing protections for sharks easier to enforce.
Washington Post has some interesting profiles and perspectives of the survivors involved. Some survivors are still too angry about their attacks, but many have made their way to the capitol, rallying around the fact that despite their own attacks, sharks are really the species under threat. Thirty-two percent of the sharks and rays in our oceans classified as "threatened" just this year by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
One survivor who lost a limb makes a perfect point about finding sympathy for the hunted creatures: "[He] said his experience gave him an appreciation of what it is like to be a shark, seriously injured and left helpless in the water. 'We've been finned,' he said of his injuries. 'It's not a good thing.'"
Only about 43 people in the US are bitten by sharks each year (about 1 in ever 11.5 million beach visits). On the other hand, 40 million sharks are finned every year. There's some perspective for you.
Shark finning is mostly an issue in other parts of the world, but the stricter the regulations anywhere, and the more heightened the awareness of people, the better.
More on Shark Finning:
Take Action: Help End Unsustainable Shark Finning
How Many Sharks Get Killed for their Fins Every Year?
New Study Finds Half a Million Sharks Are Finned Every Year in Ecuador
Bycatch Incidents and Fin Soup are Wiping Out Shark Populations Worldwide