Is It Okay to Eat Shark in Celebration of Shark Week?
Next week is Shark Week, when the Discovery Channel tries to educate the public about this noble animal by airing shows like Killer Sharks and Jaws of the Pacific, because, as everyone knows, the best way to motivate the public to protect an oft-threatened species is to make people deathly afraid of it. Well, it appears MexiQ Kitchen & Draught wants to get in on the action by serving shark tacos, made with grilled bull shark, avocado, and guajillo orange salsa, all next week, along with a special Great "Witte" Beer Flight, which includes samples of Kelso Carroll Gardens Wit, Ommegang Witte, Blanche de Bruxelles, Franziskaner, and Ithica Apricot Wheat. We have no problem with the beer deal, but should you really be eating shark?
Bull sharks aren't currently listed as threatened or endangered, although their average lengths have declined over the last few decades, not exactly a great sign. In general, sharks are a no-no when it comes to sustainable seafood. The Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program states:
Scientists estimate that tens of millions of sharks are caught and killed each year. Since sharks mature slowly and give birth to a few young at a time, most sharks do not reproduce quickly enough to keep up with the intense level of fishing and accidental catch.
The problem is that sharks often get caught in nets intended for other fish, not to mention the disturbing practice of finning sharks (cutting off a shark's fin for soup and then throwing the rest of the body back into the ocean) is still going strong.
Bull sharks are fairly common sharks with a decently healthy population, so you shouldn't feel too horrible if you eat them, but may we recommend some delicious, sustainable grilled sardines from St. Anselm instead? They're damn tasty and you can eat them with something great -- a clear conscience.
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