The practice of finning shares part of the blame for that decline. Shark fins attract a high price in Asia, where they are used in soup. One estimate suggests 73 million sharks are killed each year as part of the global fin trade.
Congress passed a measure protecting sharks in 2000, but the Pew Environmental Group, which organized this unique lobbying effort, says fishermen have been able to find loopholes. A new measure banning all shark finning has passed the House, but the bill is still pending in the Senate.
"I can't see taking a fin and letting the shark rot at the bottom," said Brenneka. "We survivors are the strongest voice in protecting these sharks."