Attack survivors at UN: Save the sharks!

September 13, 2010

THAILAND/Jaws needs help.

Nine shark-attack survivors from five countries headed for the United Nations in New York City to plead the case for shark preservation. U.N. member countries could take this issue up this week as part of an annual resolution on sustainable fisheries. They’ll also be reviewing the Millennium Development Goals — a long-range set of global targets that includes stemming the loss of biodiversity, including sharks.

“I’m very thankful to be alive,” said Krishna Thompson, a Wall Street banker who lost his left leg in a shark attack while visiting the Bahamas in 2001.  “I have learned to appreciate all of God’s living creatures. Sharks are an apex predator in the ocean. Whether they continue to live  affects how we as people live on this Earth. I feel that one of the reasons why I am alive today is to help the environment and help support shark conservation.”

DSC00087 aAnother survivor, Yann Perras of LeMans, France, had his leg severed while windsurfing off the coast of Venezuela in 2003. “Even if the movie ‘Jaws’ has scared entire generations, we have to remember that it is only fiction,” Perras said in a statement.

The nine who survived shark attacks gathered at the U.N. Environment Programme offices in an event organized by the Pew Environment Group, which among other projects aims to conserve shark species.

As many as 73 million sharks are killed each year to support the trade in shark fins, driven by demand for shark fin soup; 30 percent of shark species are either threatened or near-threatened with extinction and there is insufficient data to assess the population status of another 47 percent, the Pew Environment Group said.

Photo credits: REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom (A child looks at sharks at Siam Ocean World in Bangkok August 16, 2010.)

Dan Klotz, Pew Environment Group (Shark attack survivors, left to right: Krishna Thompson of New York, Chuck Anderson of Alabama, Mike Coots of Hawaii, James Elliott of Britain, Yann Peras of France at UN Environment Programme office in New York, September 13, 2010)

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