Do you know what's in your seafood?
Did you know that your seafood may not be as it appears? Unfortunately shark meat is often hidden under more “acceptable/recognizable” names so that it will sell better in market. Shark meat has been know to be hidden under names like:
Whitefish, Dogfish, Flake, Pescado Blanco, Cape Steak, Huss, Moki, Rock Salmon, and more…
While shark finning is known as an issue worldwide, the consumption of shark meat (the fleshy, muscular sections of the fish) is lesser known, yet very prevalent. Even some mainstream grocery stores sell shark meat behind the seafood counter or have it available upon request. Shark tissue of any kind is extremely bad for you! Since sharks are the top predators in their food chain all of the toxins, such as lead and mercury, that leech into the water is biomagnified and bioaccumulated through the fish consumed by the shark. This leaves sharks with extremely high toxicity in their tissues. Not only is eating shark bad for you, it is bad for the ocean.
Sharks act as keystone predators and help to maintain the stability of the food webs. (Stevens et al., 2000). Since the conservation of sharks is not only a population specific concern but also a larger scale concern for entire ecosystems, a more comprehensive understanding of sharks and their role in the ecosystem is required to accurately conserve shark species and their role in keeping the oceans healthy. (NMFS, 1999). Pelagic shark species often prey upon fish species that are caught in longline fisheries. (Boggs & Ito, 1993). Sharks often pick off sick or injured fish to conserve energy versus chasing after fast, healthy fish. The fish caught on longlines are prime targets for sharks and the sharks are often hooked as bycatch on these longlines. Sharks often die from exhaustion on these lines. If the shark makes it to the boat still alive, there’s evidence that just over 80% are killed for fins because of the growing demand of shark fin market. (Camhi, 1999). Without healthy shark populations, the ecosystems of the ocean will suffer the consequences. Please be sure to support local and sustainable fisheries instead of those using practices, such as longlines. By simply eating seafood from responsible fisheries you could be making a huge difference in the health of shark populations.