Environment

Unknowingly, Brazilians are big consumers of shark meat. That is a problem

Lax labeling means that Brazilians often don’t realize that widely consumed dogfish is actually shark or ray meat. A campaign is trying to change that and raise awareness around conservation issues

A fisherman slices the fin off of a shark at a beach in Manta, Ecuador. Photo: Guillermo Granja/Reuters
A fisherman slices the fin off of a shark at a beach in Manta, Ecuador. Photo: Guillermo Granja/Reuters

In the frozen fish aisle of most Brazilian supermarkets, amongst the tilapia and shrimp, it is common to find packages of a white fish labeled cação – which translates as dogfish in English. It is a cheap, boneless, and meaty fish, and is therefore quite widely eaten. But most Brazilians are unaware that the generically labeled “dogfish” is actually shark meat.

And its consumption is a threat to shark conservation and can even be harmful to humans.

The term cação refers to the dogfish, also known as the mud shark. But lax labeling requirements in Brazil mean that meat from...

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