BY Helen Kennedy
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Tuesday, September 14th 2010, 4:00 AM
Nine shark attack survivors – some missing arms, legs or feet – came to the United Nations on Monday to beg the world to save their attackers.
“If a group like us can see the value in saving sharks, can’t everyone?” asked Debbie Salamone, 44, a Florida newspaper reporter whose Achilles tendon was severed in 2004 as she stood in waist-deep water.
The Pew Environment Group, which organized the rally, says a staggering 73 million sharks are killed each year to make shark fin soup, an Asian delicacy.
Fishermen slice off the fins – which can fetch up to $300 a pound – and dump the mutilated sharks back into the sea to bleed to death, according to the group.
“I tried to go for the eyeball and realized I couldn’t because my hand was in his mouth,” he recounted of his close encounter with a 10-foot bull shark. “I punched him. I think that just upset him.”
Despite being maimed, de Gelder said, he came to New York to “speak out for an animal that can’t speak for itself.”
The Pew Environment Group says 30% of shark species – including great whites, smooth hammerheads, whitetips and threshers – are threatened with extinction or on the verge.
The shark fans want the UN to adopt curbs on shark fishing.
“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. “There are no limits.”
The survivors were between the ages of 21 and 55 and traveled to New York from all over the world.
With News Wire Services
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