Attack Survivors Aim to Save Sharks with US Soup Study

Publication: Reuters

Author: Barbara Liston


08/09/2012 - Survivors of shark attacks - now trying to save the animals that took their limbs and, in some cases, nearly their lives - want U.S. restaurant-goers to know they may be eating a threatened species in their shark fin soup. 

Out of 32 samples taken across the country of the Chinese delicacy with identifiable shark DNA, 26 bowls, or 81 percent, contained fins from sharks listed as endangered, vulnerable or near threatened, according to a report released on Thursday by the Pew Environment Group.

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"What better voice is there than ours?" said Mike Coots, 32, of Kauai, Hawaii, a surfer whose right leg was ripped off by a tiger shark in 1997. 

The survivors group has lobbied Congress to close loopholes in the shark fin ban. It also works through the United Nations to encourage the establishment of shark sanctuaries around the world. 

Their efforts began after Debbie Salamone, a competitive ballroom dancer, had her Achilles tendon severed by a shark off Florida's coast in 2004. 

The shark encounter eventually lead her to refocus her life's work on protecting the animals from extinction and recruiting other shark attack survivors around the globe to help with her mission. 

"Most of us have forgiven," said Salamone, 46, who is now a Pew spokeswoman. "If you care about the ocean, you need to care about sharks."

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Read the full article, Attack Survivors Aim to Save Sharks with US Soup Study, on the Reuters website.      

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