• Researchers used DNA barcoding to search out that cat meals offered from no less than 16 totally different manufacturers in Singapore contained threatened species of shark, together with the silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis) which is within the CITES Appendix. are protected beneath II.
  • Main manufacturers resembling Fancy Feast, Whiskas and Shiba had been amongst these present in silky sharks and different species.
  • None of those cat meals merchandise had been labeled precisely to point out that they contained sharks.
  • The worldwide shark inhabitants is in speedy decline primarily because of damaging fishing practices.

Shark meat from species susceptible to main manufacturers is being processed into cat meals, in line with a brand new research.

Researchers from the Nationwide College of Singapore used DNA barcoding know-how to investigate 144 samples from 45 cat meals merchandise produced by 16 totally different manufacturers in Thailand and offered in Singapore. They discovered that 31% of the samples contained shark meat.

The commonest shark present in cat meals was the blue shark (prionus glauca), a species that isn’t protected beneath CITES, the Worldwide Conference on the Wildlife Commerce, however that analysis reveals it’s over-exploited. The opposite species found within the merchandise had been silky sharks (Carcharinus falciformis) and whitetip reef shark (tyanodon obesus), each are listed as “Susceptible” by the worldwide conservation authority IUCN. Silky Sharks are additionally protected beneath CITES Appendix II, which governs commerce by means of a set of circumstances.

Nonetheless, not one of the cat meals merchandise had been precisely labeled as containing shark meat. As an alternative, they used generic phrases resembling “ocean fish,” “white fish” and “white bait,” the researchers stated.

Main manufacturers of shark meat resembling Fancy Feast, Whiskas, and Sheba had been amongst these discovered, together with CITES-protected silky sharks.

Blue Shark from Southern California. Picture by Mark Conlin/NMFS through Wikimedia Commons (Public Area).

β€œIt’s probably that many pet homeowners who’re occupied with conservation broadly, or within the conservation of sharks particularly, are unaware that they’re inadvertently feeding their pets to endangered species of sharks,” The writer writes.

Co-author Ben Wainwright stated this research confirms what different research have discovered about pet meals containing shark meat. For instance, a 2019 research discovered that pet meals merchandise offered in the US included the endangered shortfin mako shark (isurus oxyrhynchus), and that some cosmetics use elements of critically endangered scalloped hammerheads (sphyrna levini), blue shark and blacktip shark (carcharhinus limbatus, Nonetheless, the brand new research signifies that the problem extends past the US.

“This can be a international problem and is made much more probably given the worldwide nature of shark fishing and the complexities related to international provide chains,” Wainwright informed Mongabay in an electronic mail.

Gary Stokes, founding father of Hong Kong-based advocacy NGO OceansAsia, stated he and others within the conservation group have been conscious of the problem for a few years, however the problem is just not getting the eye it deserves.

“Any report out there may be nice,” Stokes informed Mongbe in a cellphone interview. “It simply reveals the extent to which sharks are getting used, whether or not for cosmetics or for rheumatism or leather-based drugs, or for any use of sharks that contributes to shark slaughter globally.” Is.”

Though it’s troublesome to determine the dimensions of the problem, Stokes stated he thinks it’s extra widespread to make use of shark meat in cat meals.

Stokes stated, “In most locations, shark meat is simply low cost, low-grade meat that folks do not actually use, so it freezes on the bottom and turns into fertilizer, which can be utilized as pet meals.” is made.” Human consumption is probably going associated to the excessive ranges of urea in meat which provides it an disagreeable style and odor.

Shortfin mako shark within the North Atlantic at Condor Financial institution, Azores. Picture by Patrick Doll through Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0).

Processing sharks into pet meals could also be a widespread apply, however Stokes stated the shark commerce, protected beneath CITES, could be unlawful as a result of doing so requires a particular allow.

“If they are a protected species, you possibly can’t take [the products] Throughout worldwide borders with none announcement,” he stated. “However in fact, they’re technically being smuggled in as a result of they’re hidden contained in the contents … of pet meals.”

The worldwide shark inhabitants is beneath excessive strain because of overfishing. One research discovered that shark and ray populations have declined by greater than 70% prior to now 50 years. One other research discovered that sharks had been “functionally extinct” from many coral reef habitats, notably these near human settlements that had been poorly ruled and whose fisheries had been unregulated.

Researchers argue that pet meals merchandise should be correctly labeled to point out whether or not they comprise shark meat. Not solely will this assist keep away from exploitation of susceptible sharks, however it would “permit pet homeowners to have extra management over what their pets feed,” they conclude.

,[We need] Higher labeling, extra accountability,” Wainwright stated, “throughout the complete seafood provide chain.”


Cardenosa, d. (2019). Genetic identification of threatened shark species in pet meals and sweetness care merchandise. Conservation Genetics, 20(6), 1383-1387. doi:10.1007/s10592-019-01221-0

Da Silva, T. E., Lesa, R., & Santana, F. M. (2021). Present information on the biology, fishing and conservation of blue sharks (prionus glauca, Neotropical Biology and Conservation, 16(1), 71-88. DOI: 10.3897/neotropical.16.e58691

French, I., & Wainwright, B. J. (2022). DNA barcoding identifies endangered sharks in pet meals offered in Singapore. Frontiers in Marine Science, 9, doi:10.3389/fmars.2022.836941

McNeil, M. A., Chapman, D., Heppel, M., Simpfendorfer, C. A., Heathhaus, M., Meeken, M., … Sinner, J. E. (2020). World standing and conservation potential of reef sharks. Nature, doi:10.1038/s41586-020-2519-y

Packourou, N., Rigby, C. L., Kayne, P. M., Shirley, R. B., Winker, H., Carlson, J. Okay., … Dulavi, N. Okay. (2021). Half a century of worldwide decline in ocean sharks and rays. nature, 589(7843), 567-571. doi:10.1038/s41586-020-03173-9

Banner Picture Caption: A silky shark with a hook on its mouth. Picture by Pleasure Ito/Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Elizabeth Claire Alberts is a workers author for Mongabay. observe him on twitter @ECAlberts,

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Enterprise, DNA, Marine, Marine Animals, Marine Biodiversity, Marine Conservation, Marine Disaster, Marine Ecosystem, Pets, Science, Sharks, Sharks and Rays, Species, Know-how


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