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PNS Daily Newscast - August 5, 2020 

A massive explosion kills dozens and injures thousands in Beirut; and child care is key to getting Americans back to work.

2020Talks - August 5, 2020 

Election experts testify before the US House that more funding is necessary. And Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Washington state had primaries yesterday; Hawaii and Tennessee have them later this week.

Beach Weather is Here: Sharks Beware!

May 26, 2009

The hot weather saw many Floridians flocking to the beach over the long weekend, and more than a few swimmers were wondering if there were sharks about. However, conservationists say shark attacks are rare. Instead, it's the sharks themselves that are in danger.

Julie Arner, Global Shark Conservation manager with the Pew Environment Group, says only 71 unprovoked shark attacks occurred worldwide in 2007 and just one was fatal. In the United States, shark attacks cluster in Florida, which had 32 unprovoked attacks last year, but no one died.

"You are much more likely to be killed by a vending machine than by a shark. These unprovoked shark attacks are just flukes; they rarely happen."

Arner says about 50 million sharks are being killed each year in a quest for their fins, which are a delicacy in Asian cuisine. A management plan is needed, she warns, to address the diminishing shark population.

Congress is debating a measure (S 850) that aims to stop fishermen from killing sharks just for their fins. One vessel was stopped recently with 32 tons of shark fins aboard, but the owner could not be prosecuted because it was not a fishing boat. Arner says the legislation Congress is crafting would apply to all vessels.

"Under the proposed law, if a ship is in U.S. waters and is carrying shark fins, those fins must be naturally attached to the shark. This is really important for enforcement of the law and for scientific data collection."

One reason to care about what happens to sharks, Arner explains, is that they are a top-of-the-food-chain predator. For example, sharks eat rays, and rays prey on scallops. With fewer sharks in the ocean, scallop numbers have dropped as well, Arner says.

Statistics for shark attacks in the United States are available at

Gina Presson /Diane Ronayne, Public News Service - FL