The Smoothhound (or Gummy as it’s called in Australia) and Soupfin sharks caught by the South African Demersal Shark Longline (DSL) fishery is being exported to Australia to be used in Fish and Chips. This is because Australia limits the total allowable catch in its own waters, but in order to keep up with consumer demand, it needs to import from South Africa.
You might think that the Australian Gummy shark fisheries are responsibly managed but it’s still not ok to eat this shark meat. There are also concerns over the fishing practises used in the Australian fisheries and their resultant by-catch of vulnerable and threatened species.
If this is not enough, a scientific study has shown (link to scientific paper) that South African Smoothhound sharks (as Gummy sharks are called in South Africa) contain 14 times the recommended levels of heavy metal content. Consumption of high levels of heavy metals have been proven to lead to a substantially greater chance of developing dementia-related diseases. So again, the choice is easy. Shark meat is not even healthy for you.
COVID19 is showing just how important it is to our health not to eat wild animals and sharks certainly fit into this category
The great news is that you can still enjoy a good plate of Fish and Chips, just make sure it’s Shark Free!
You can help stop the demand on this fishery by choosing sustainable fish options for your Fish and Chips. If we can stop the demand for shark consumption in Australia, it will essentially close the dangerously detrimental DSL fishery in South Africa.
We all have an important role to play, so please choose sustainably!