Know a pet store selling shark cartilage?

Download our letter asking them to remove it from their shelves. Just add the date, your name and email address.

Thank you for your support,

Fin Free Soup Team 

To whom it may concern,

I am writing to you regarding your decision to sell shark cartilage products for pet consumption. I understand and appreciate that you aim to provide pet owners with a variety of nutritional options, however, there have been recent studies regading shark cartilage that you may not be aware of. Shark cartilage contains β-N-methylamino- L-alanine (BMAA), a ubiquitous toxin linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as Motor Neurone, Parkinsons and Alzheimers. Sharks are also known to contain high levels of mercury, another neurotoxic compound that bioaccumulates over their lifespan. Together, these compounds may have synergistic neurotoxic effects. A recent study investigated the concentration of BMAA and mercury in fins and muscles sampled in ten species of sharks. BMAA and Mercury were detected in all of the shark species.

Another recent study also reported that commercial shark cartilage contains pro-inflammatory compounds that could pose health risks when consumed. This is of particular concern when an inflammatory diseases is already present.

“The efficacy of shark cartilage in maintaining joint health remains questionable; there is a lack of sufficient reliable information on its effect, and the potential health risks involved have not been adequately assessed” Merly and Smith 2015.

A lack of information regarding the fishing methods and sustainability in obtaining sharks for their cartilage, as well as the species that are being utilised, is also of concern. One manufacturer recently revealed their products contain dogfish shark, bull shark (Near Threatened according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List), blue shark (Near Threatened), nurse shark (Western Atlantic population is assessed as Near Threatened), blacktip shark (Near Threatened), reef shark (Near Threatened) and thresher shark (vulnerable).

According to the IUCN Shark Specialist Group, 32 percent of open ocean (pelagic) sharks are now threatened with extinction. This is the result of overfishing due to the high demand for shark fin soup, meat and cartilage products. Sharks are particularly sensitive to overfishing due to their late maturity, low birthing rates and long gestation periods. Estimates suggest a total annual mortality of 100 million sharks killed in 2000 and about 97 million sharks in 2010, with a total range between 63 and 273 million per year. A number that is far from sustainable.

I ask that in light of this information you remove shark cartilage from your range of products and replace it with a more sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative.

Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.