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Shark Attack Survivors in DC to Back Senator John Kerry's Legislation

July 15, 2009

WASHINGTON - In a nice example of turning the other cheek, a group of shark attack survivors from around the U.S. is in Washington today to voice their support for the Shark Conservation Act, which would put an end to "shark-finning." Finning means catching a shark, slicing off the fins and discarding the body at sea - a practice believed by many scientists to be the primary reason more shark species are endangered around the world today.

Matt Rand, the director of global shark conservation for Pew Environment Group, says that "shark-finning" is a practice that must be banned globally.

"Sharks play a critical role in keeping other predators at bay and culling the sick. These are very important creatures for our ocean; without them, we will throw the ocean ecosystem out of balance."

One of the group of nine shark attack survivors, Laurie Boyett of Rhode Island, was bitten by a tiger shark while swimming in Hawaii in 1999. She feels that she was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, and now says she wants to use her experience to help make a positive change.

"I was in their territory. It seemed like finally I could do something as an individual to help the environment; maybe my voice would have some meaning."

The House version of the U.S. Shark Conservation Act passed the House unanimously in March and the Senate version was introduced by Massachusetts Senator John Kerry this past April. The shark attack survivors will speak to senators today.

More information is at www.pewsharks.org

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - MA