Nine victims want a ban on killing the fish just for the fins to make soup
Thirty-five years after Jaws struck fear into cinema audiences, with the story of a man-eating great white, a group of shark attack victims has called on the UN to stop the world fishing sharks into extinction.
The nine victims want a ban on finning, a gruesome practice in which fishermen cut off a fin for shark fin soup and then dump the fish back in the water to drown or bleed to death. An estimated 73 million sharks are killed by finning each year. Nearly a third of all shark species are threatened or near threatened with extinction, conservationists said.
For Krishna Thompson, a New York banker who nearly died after a shark took his left leg, the scale of that carnage easily trumps his personal loss. “I was attacked by a shark. Yes it was a tragedy but that is what sharks do, I can’t blame the shark for what it did,” he said. “You have to put that aside and look at the bigger picture: 73 million sharks killed yearly for shark finning.” Yesterday’s event, which was sponsored by the Pew Environment Group, was intended to put pressure on the United Nations to protect sharks.
Sharks, as top predators, are essential to the balance of the marine environment. Remove sharks, and systems would collapse because of an abundance of smaller fish. But unlike other at-risk species such as tuna, there is no global management plan for shark fishing, said Matt Rand, director of global shark conservation for Pew.