Can you eat sharks?

In this brief blog, we will answer the query,”Can you eat shark?” We will also explain what shark finning is and how shark meat is prepared. We will explain why you shouldn’t eat shark meat. We will also look at the negative risks of eating shark meat and some types of fish that are safe for consumption.

Can you eat sharks?

Yes, you can eat sharks. Shark meat is legal for consumption in the United States although it is not popular because it is known to contain very high levels of mercury and many species of sharks are also endangered species.

The major problem when it comes to sharks is actually the practice of shark finning.

What is shark finning?

Shark finning is the process of catching sharks and then removing their fins and cruelly returning them back into the sea. Shark finning is a gruesome practice because it results in the sharks being helpless and they end up sinking into the ocean floor, suffocating or are consumed by other predators in the sea.

The shark fins are usually used in China and Hong Kong as well as other Chinese communities as an ingredient in shark-fin soup. Shark finning results in a 95% waste of the animal.

Shark fin soup dates back to the mid 1300s and it has since then been a delicacy among the Chinese and it is popularly served at weddings and banquets to signify social status. Shark fins are usually served in a variety of ways such as cold, dried, wet, cooked, frozen and even canned and they are preferred as they add good texture to the dishes.

How is shark meat prepared?

Shark meat that is not processed tends to spoil very quickly and also releases a pungent ammonia smell because it contains a lot of urea. You can however prevent this by brining or marinating the meat for a long period of time.

With the decrease of the cod populations, dried shark has risen in popularity in a lot of countries where salt cold is a favorite. Shark meat is usually prepared by cutting it into steaks and filets just like other large marine fish.

Why shouldn’t you eat shark meat?

It is not advisable to consume shark meat because it contains high levels of mercury. Mercury when consumed at high levels can result in a myriad of health problems. Studies have shown that mercury can lead to severe damage to the eyes, skin, lungs, kidneys and also the nervous system.

Mercury is usually produced as a result of human activities in the environment. It is produced from various sources such as volcanoes emissions, forest fires, fossil fuels burning, coal-powered trains and also the incineration of medical wastes.

Large marine fish such as sharks can contain a lot of mercury in their bodies because they feed on small fish that eat plankton at the top of the food chain and because they consume a lot of them, the sharks can have very high mercury levels.

What are the health risks of eating sharks?

Consumption of sharks can lead to a lot of negative health effects because of the mercury in them. The negative effects of mercury exposure can even affect people with ichthyophobia. People that are exposed to large quantities of mercury can have declined health as mercury is known to affect the peripheral and central nervous systems.

For instance, in Minamata, Japan there was once an outbreak of fish that were infested with mercury between 1932 and 1968. This was from a discharge of alloys of mercury by a factory that was producing acetic acid. It ended up affecting over 50,000 people and resulted in an escalation of cases of brain degradation, dementia and even paralysis.

What types of fish are safe to consume?

There are a variety of fish that are safe for human consumption and these include:

  • Salmon
  • Codfish
  • Herring
  • Perch
  • Mahi-mahi

Most of the fish listed above are very nutritious and can provide your body with a variety of vitamins and essential minerals which are healthy for the body. For instance, salmin is a good source of protein, phosphorus and selenium. It also contains B vitamins such as B12 and B6.

To learn the health benefits of salmon click here.

Conclusion

In this brief blog, we have answered the query,”Can you eat shark?” We have also explained what shark finning is and how sharK meat is prepared. We have explained why you shouldn’t eat shark meat. We have also looked at the negative risks of eating shark meat and some types of fish that are safe for consumption.

Citations

https://www.foodandwine.com/seafood/fish/everything-to-know-about-eating-shark-us

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