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UK: Unaware Consumers are Eating Rare Sharks

Researchers at the University of Exeter also found fins of shark species unknowingly sold by a British wholesaler included scalloped hammerheads, which are endangered globally, as well as shortfin mako and smalleye hammerhead sharks. According to researchers who used DNA bar-coding to spot species on sale. Fish and chip shops and fishmongers are continuously selling endangered sharks to an unaware public. Most chip shop fish sold under generic names such as huss, rock, flake and rock salmon turned out to be spiny dogfish, a shark species classified as endangered in Europe. Other species sold in fish and chip shops and fishmongers included starry smooth-hounds, nursehounds and blue sharks.

Until 2011 it was illegal to seize spiny dogfish in the EU but the fish is now allowed to be sold as by-catch when it is brought up in nets that target other species. The government allows many shark species to be sold under long-used generic names such as rock but the researchers are calling for more accurate food labelling with fish, clearly identified at the point of sale to consumers so people know what species they are eating and where it came from.

The study analysed 78 samples from chip shops and 39 from fishmongers, mostly in southern England, as well as 10 fins from a wholesaler that sells them to restaurants and high-quality supermarkets.

> Alma Siddiqua

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