On Monday, September 13, nine people from five different countries came together at the United Nations Environment Program New York office in the USA to speak on behalf of a campaign organized by the Pew Environment Group.
The campaign is seeking greater protection of sharks, whose numbers are diminishing sharply as some 73 million are killed each year for a dish known as shark fin soup.
According to international researchers who have observed the practice, the sharks are often subjected to a cruel process known as finning, in which their fins are removed while they are still alive.
The sharks are then discarded, finless, into the sea, where they sink and are left to die on the ocean floor. Some shark populations have decreased by 80%, with nearly a third of all species now classified as endangered or near-threatened with extinction. The nine people who arrived to support the Pew Environment Group’s campaign, which includes a call to ban finning, are further distinguished by a common experience, namely, that all have endured serious injury or even loss of a limb from their own encounters with sharks.
Australian Navy diver Paul de Gelder, for instance, whose right hand and lower right leg were lost to a shark during a dive last year, said that he wanted to help give a voice to an animal that can't speak for itself.
He stated, “We're decimating the population of sharks just for a bowl of soup." Mr. de Gelder went on to say, “Regardless of what an animal does according to its base instincts of survival, it has its place in our world.
We have an obligation to protect and maintain the natural balance of our delicate ecosystems.” Fellow survivor, American Debbie Salamone stated, "Sharks deserve protection and I am proud to join with fellow survivors to carry that message. If we see the value in saving these animals after what we have endured, then everyone should."
We are touched by the depth of your care and commitment, survivor advocates, as we also send our appreciation to the Pew Environment Group for their dedicated endeavors to save our precious marine co-inhabitants.
Let us quickly halt such needless and devastating practices of fishing and adopt the life-affirming vegan diet for the sake of all beings and the planet.
During a March 2009 videoconference in Mexico, Supreme Master Ching Hai reminded of our interconnectedness with all forms of life while highlighting the best way to care for the planet’s fragile ecosystems.