Can You Eat Shark? Everything You Need to Know!

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can you eat shark meat

In the sea, survival of the fittest reigns supreme. Sharks rule the watery depths with unmatched ferocity and power, as evidenced by their immense size and razor-sharp teeth.

But are sharks good to eat?

And if so, which parts of them should you avoid?

In this article, we’ll explore whether or not can you eat sharks, including recommendations on the most famous shark species to consume, basic cooking instructions, and information about some of the most common health concerns surrounding this seafood.

Let’s get started!


Can You Eat Shark?


After reading the caption, you must have questioned yourself: Is shark safe to eat? Can you eat shark without getting sick or dying? The answer is yes; Sharks are edible. You can eat them, as many people worldwide do, and make delicious stuff out of them.

image of a smoked shark dish

When we talk about seafood, we forget that sharks come under it too. It is because they are not available everywhere and don’t contain many nutrients that would make them a must-eat. There are much safer fish in the ocean, which you can consume instead.

If it is unclear to you that shark fish are edible, then let me tell you that if you want to eat it out of curiosity, you may eat it.

It can be because you are a daring angler or an adventurous seafood lover, but you must know the pros and cons. Have it once in your lifetime, but it is not something to have every other day.


Why Eating Sharks Is Dangerous For Humans?


Have you wondered what makes sharks so dangerous, and can humans eat shark meat? If humans could eat them easily, wouldn’t it have been great? But that is not the case.

Sharks contain ammonia and high levels of mercury; yes, you heard that right, mercury. It also has high urea content, making it extremely risky to eat.

image of sharks under the ocean

Because of this reason, shark meat goes through a lot of processing before it is made edible. And if you are thinking, where can you buy shark meat, assuming it might be delicious, don’t think so.

Because of the fact that sharks urinate and excrete their feces through their skin pores, their taste is not great.

To minimize the risks, shark meat is cured by cutting the shark pieces, fermenting, and hanging them to dry for several weeks or months. Is it safe to eat shark meat once it is processed? Yes, you can have it, but don’t have fresh shark meat.

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Which Sharks Are Good To Eat?


It must be very obvious to you by now that you cannot just eat any shark. Some of the species have really high ammonia and mercury content, while some are relatively safe to eat. Sharks that you can eat are Blacktip, Mako, and Thresher.

Even out of these, let me make things easier for you by naming the best one among them. Mako sharks are the best options to go for. Its flavor is not unpleasant; it has a strong, rich flavor, and its fat content is shallow.

Mako shark’s dense meat makes it very popular among people who like eating sharks as delicacies. Folks make soups out of it, fry it, sear it, and some even make shark meat steaks out of it.


Is It Legal To Eat Sharks In The U.S?


Can you eat sharks in the US? Can you buy shark meat there legally? The answer is yes, you can. Eating shark meat is legal in the US, and you won’t be fined for consuming it. It is sold in a lot of markets openly.

Meat of hakarl shark

But you won’t see a lot of people buying it. There won’t be any long lines in fish markets of people waiting to get their shark meat. It is because people avoid eating sharks because of the health concerns that come along with them.

However, specific laws against shark finning are very cruel to these predators. A lot of sharks lose their lives because of the finning. The US does condemn shark finning, and you may get fined for doing so.


What Is Shark Finning?


Are you aware of shark finning? If you are not, I will tell you what this practice is. Shark fins are expensive and highly valued in many cultures, predominantly Asian.

Specifically, in China, shark fin soup is a delicacy and a sign of high status, which is served at weddings and special ceremonies.

But how do they extract fins from the shark? Do they catch and consume the whole shark? It would have been much better if that were the actual case.

But contrary to that, shark finning is a process in which people slice a shark’s fins and throw the finless poor fish back into the ocean.

It is fierce, and the shark dies a slow, painful death because of it, by sinking to the bottom of the ocean as it cannot swim without its fins.


Is Shark Meat Illegal?


Shark meat is not illegal; you can buy it whenever you want. What sharks can you eat? You can legally buy all of these in the US, mako, thresher, and black tips.

The legalities in the European Union might differ, as sharks are considered an endangered species there, so it is a risk consuming shark meat in the EU.

Likewise, in Canada, the import and export of shark fins are considered illegal because of their inhumane and unsustainable nature. But you can have shark meat there too.


How Expensive Is Shark Meat?


If you are planning to try shark meat out of curiosity, let me clarify one thing: it is very costly. Can you eat shark meat that costs you around $30 per pound? If you can, then you must go forward and have it.

shark meat hanging in market

But it is a fact that shark meat has almost no nutritional value, and its price is almost 3x more than that of chicken. At least I would prefer chicken over it; it tastes good, won’t pose a threat to my health, and will be readily available everywhere.


Is Shark Hunting Illegal In The US?


Sharks are mainly hunted for a single reason: hides in their fins. People only value their fins, not their meat or other organs, which is why shark finning is considered illegal in the US.

The law strictly condemns this barbaric act, and anyone caught doing so under US jurisdiction is considered a criminal. Strict actions can be taken against people who do so.


Final Verdict:

Sharks were the top predators of the oceans, but now they are unsafe because they become prey at the hands of human beings.

Humans are curious beings who want to try out anything and know how it tastes, even if it is hazardous to their health. Can you eat sharks? Yes, you can.

But I would not encourage that because by doing so, you’re not only risking your health, you will also get near the sharks to extinction.

If you want to know if it is safe to eat shark meat, I hope you know by now. Don’t consume fresh meat. Buy cured shark meat if you want to make things safer.


Frequently Asked Questions

#1 – Is shark healthy to eat?

No, a shark is not a healthy option to eat. You may try it once for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but don’t consume it thinking it is a healthy food option. Plenty of healthy seafood options are available, so why risk your life eating sharks.

#2 – Can you eat shark liver?

While eating dried fermented shark meat is a thing, don’t even think about eating a shark’s liver. Because sharks urinate and excrete through their skins, they highly concentrate their livers on vitamin A and mercury, which will kill you immediately.

#3 – Is shark meat poisonous?

Raw, fresh shark meat is poisonous because of its high ammonia, urea, and mercury content. It can cause kidney failure, blindness, hair loss, nails, and teeth. It can even kill you, so you better consume processed shark meat if you want to try it. Otherwise, it will straightaway cause your death.

#4 – Can you eat great white shark?

You may question yourself, can you eat great white sharks? Yes, you can. Great white sharks are not endangered, so their meat can be sold. You can eat it, but it is not advisable due to its extremely high mercury content.

#5 – Can you eat hammerhead shark?

People consume hammerhead sharks, so can you eat hammerhead sharks too? The answer is obviously yes.

But trust me, you wouldn’t want to after knowing how awfully terrible they taste and smell because of the pollutants they contain. You can try Mako sharks instead if you want to have a shark.

#6 – Can you eat blacktip sharks?

Yes, you can eat blacktip sharks as they are not as dangerous as other species. The best way to have blacktip shark meat is to grill it. You can buy blacktip shark fillet from the market, cured or uncured.

However, you like. It is recommended to buy the cured, salted black tip fillets. If you are going with the fresh meat, make sure it doesn’t smell like ammonia.