New research by the University of Exeter in England shows endangered shark products, like shark meat and fins, are finding their way to British restaurants.
“Despite the small number of samples studied, they have demonstrated the sale of threatened sharks, highlighting the global nature of the damaging trade in endangered species,” said University of Exeter researchers, according to a report by BBC News.
Scientific Reports examined shark fins that were destined for restaurants and shark steaks sold in other markets. They found out that Squalus acanthias and the scalloped hammerhead are the two species being imported to different shops.
Squalus acanthias, or the spiny dogfish, is a small shark classified vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and is the main shark species sold. The scalloped hammerhead, on the other hand, is also an endangered species and is “subject to international restrictions,” reported BBC News.
“The discovery of scalloped hammerheads in shark fins that were destined to be sold in the UK highlights how widespread the sale of these endangered species really is,” told Dr. Andrew Griffiths to BBC News.
According to the report, people know they are eating shark meat, but do not know which type of shark it is.
Shark fins are often used to make soup in some Asian cuisines, which has also become quite famous in some British restaurants.
Scientists garnered about 78 samples of meat at chip chops in 2016 and 2017, and found out 90% of it came from the spiny dog fish. Fishing and eating the shark is not permitted under European Union rules, but it seemed as though it has been sourced somewhere.
World Wildlife Fund chief marine advisor Simon Walmsley stated that “endangered shark species shouldn’t be ending up on people’s plates as their weekend takeaway, particularly the spiny dogfish which is vulnerable and threatened with extinction.”