By Gary Thomas
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has certified the U.S. Atlantic Spiny Dogfish (Squalus acanthias) fishery as the first sustainable east coast shark fishery. The council granted the certification to the Sustainable Fisheries Association that consists of Eastern Fisheries, Marder Trawling, Seatrade International Company and Zeus Packing.
Sam Rauch, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Acting Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, stated that the US fisheries are one of the well managed fisheries in the universe.
Dogfish meat is consumed primarily in Asia and Europe. American seafood processors use 100% of the fish without any wastage. The smoked belly flaps are eaten in Germany as Schillerlocken. In Britain, the back meat is utilized for chips and fish. The liver is utilized in nutraceuticals all over the world. The head is utilized as bait by US crabbers and lobstermen and the remaining portion of the carcass is utilized to produce organic fertilizer that can be used for agricultural purpose.
The fins and tail meat are consumed in East Asia. Shark fin soup is served during special occasions such s banquets and weddings. Shark fin consumption is culturally important in Asian communities. Dogfish is considered as a humane source of shark fins. Together with the citizens worldwide, the Sustainable Fisheries Association is opposing the inhumane as well as the destructive act of shark finning at sea.
Spiny dogfish are leading predators and their population levels are high. Continued commercial and recreational fishing on this population under the state and federal science-based management plans is sustainable as well as potentially advantageous to the North Atlantic ecosystem.