(Wild-caught Worldwide, Except Common Thresher and Shortfin Mako, from California and Hawaii)
Most shark populations worldwide are at historically low levels due to serious overfishing. With just a few exceptions, shark is ranked "Avoid."
Blacktip, Rock Cod, Sandbar, Shark
Buyer beware: many shark species are sold under the generic name "shark" without species identification.
Environmental Defense Fund has issued a consumption advisory for all shark species (including dogfish) due to elevated levels of mercury.
Scientists estimate up to 73 million sharks are caught and killed each year in fisheries, with up to half caught accidentally in fishing gear targeting other species.
Although shark finning is banned in some countries, including the U.S., it still occurs in many fisheries worldwide and is a major factor in the decline of shark populations.
Since sharks mature slowly and give birth to few young, most don't reproduce quickly enough to keep up with the intense level of fishing and accidental catch in other fisheries.
In addition, gear used to specifically target sharks, such as gillnets or longlines, catch and kill endangered species such as marine mammals, sea turtles and seabirds.
A small number of shark populations in North America are managed more responsibly and have healthier populations. These "Good Alternatives" are common thresher and shortfin mako sharks caught in California and Hawaii, and spiny dogfish from British Columbia. However, unless these shark species can be sourced from these specific regions, we recommend that consumers "Avoid" all other shark products.