UNITED NATIONS — They have the scars and missing limbs that make it hard to forgive, but these victims are tougher than most. And now they want to save their attackers. They are shark attack survivors, a band of nine thrown together in an unlikely and ironic mission to conserve the very creatures that ripped their flesh, tore off their limbs and nearly took their lives.
They want nations to adopt a resolution that would require them to greatly improve how fish are managed, including shark species, of which nearly a third are threatened with extinction or on the verge of being threatened.
"We do not have scientific management plans for how many sharks can be caught," Matt Rand, director of Global Shark Conservation for the Pew Environment Group, told reporters at the United Nations on Monday. "There are no limits."
Speaking with the attack survivors at a news conference held to draw attention to the world's dwindling shark population, Rand said the U.N. and its member nations must do more to resolve the problem.
"If a group like us can see the value in saving sharks, can't everyone?" asked Florida shark bite victim Debbie Salamone, 44, whose Achilles tendon was severed in a 2004 attack.