SEATTLE - Sharks are in danger in the Pacific and all the world's oceans, and after tangling with sharks and living to tell about it, a group of shark attack survivors is in the nation's capital today, asking the Senate to pass a bill to protect sharks. Scientists say that, like many other fish species, sharks have been over-fished and many are endangered.
Here in the Northwest, there are at least 18 shark species on the Pacific coast. Shark sightings are common but attacks are extremely rare, according to Matt Rand, director of Global Shark Conservation, a project of the Pew Environment Group.
"Sharks are the ones that should be much more scared of people, than people should be of them. Most of the attacks were accidents. Scientists believe the sharks aren't looking for people as food, but the sharks think they're a prey they're used to feeding off of, and it's a mistake."
Rand says that, even though many of the survivors have lost arms or legs, they don't hold grudges against the sharks that bit them.
"These are individuals that are extremely passionate about shark conservation. They are more concerned for the sharks than they are for themselves. They're scared for sharks."
The Pew Environment Group says most sharks are caught for their fins, which are cut off, mostly for use in making shark fin soup, and the bodies of the fish dumped back into the ocean. The United States has banned this practice of "finning," but it is legal in other countries. The Shark Conservation Act would strengthen enforcement of the U.S. ban.