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Fish and chip shop customers in the UK ‘secretly being sold shark meat’ | UK | News UK News

Fish and chip shops in the UK might be secretly selling customers shark meat, a new shocking study has revealed. So, if you have recently visited a UK chippie, there might be a possibility that unknowingly you have consumed shark meat.

Despite worldwide efforts to reduce the trade in shark fins, a recent study reveals an increase in the demand for shark meat.

The researchers, from Dalhousie University in Canada, highlight that shark meat is often sold without proper labeling, masquerading as “mystery meat” in eateries globally, including those in Britain.

The study discloses a rise in shark fatalities, with 80 million sharks killed in 2019, up from 76 million in 2015.

Alarmingly, a substantial portion of the sharks killed – 25 million – belonged to species already facing the threat of extinction.

The research, spanning from 2012 to 2019, tracked the destinies of 1.1 billion sharks across 150 countries engaged in fishing.

According to WWF, the value of shark and ray meat market ballooned from £1.18 billion ($1.5 billion) in 2012 to £2.04 billion ($2.6 billion) in 2019.

Co-author Leonardo Feitosa, a shark biologist from UC Santa Barbara, explained that this has led to shark meat being sold much more widely.

Ms Feitosa says: “We have seen the demand for shark fins decreasing and the demand for shark meat increasing, with Brazil and Italy being the main consumers.

“Because shark meat is a relatively cheap substitute for other types of fish, there is considerable mislabeling, making some consumers eat shark meat without their knowledge.”

Sold in markets like the UK without clear identification as shark meat, it often disguises itself as “mystery meat”, commonly transformed into fried “fish”.

A 2019 study conducted by Exeter University revealed that 90 percent of fish and chip takeaways in the South of England incorporated shark meat without informing their customers.

Researchers collected 15 samples from various locations along the south coast, identifying 10 as spiny dogfish and the remaining five as starry smooth-hound. Spiny dogfish is categorized as endangered in Europe, and starry smooth-hound is also recognized as a threatened species.

Advocates are urging for more transparent labeling of fish products, following revelations that endangered species are being marketed as rock salmon, rock eels, and huss.

Researchers emphasise that the global trade in shark meat remains a substantial menace to the existence of endangered species.

Dr. Bois Worm, the lead researcher, expresses concern, stating: “A concerning number of sharks are perishing, particularly posing a threat to endangered species like hammerhead sharks.”

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This notice was published: 2024-01-12 13:12:00

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