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The second most common species the researchers identified was the silky shark, a vulnerable species that is in decline worldwide. Stephen Frink via Getty Images
Take a peek at the ingredients list on the back of the cat food the next time you go to the supermarket. Your pet may be eating shark flesh if you notice the words "fish," "white fish," or "ocean fish."
Researchers utilized DNA barcoding to examine 45 different pet food brands from Singapore in a recent study published in Frontiers in Marine Science. They discovered shark DNA in nearly a third of the 144 samples, including some from endangered species. The blue shark was the most prevalent species identified by the researchers, followed by the silky shark, which is categorized as vulnerable on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
In 2019, a similar study discovered shark genetic material in pet food and cosmetics gathered in the United States.
In a statement, study authors Ian French and Benjamin J. Wainwright, both researchers at National University of Singapore, said, Given the results of a prior study undertaken in the United States, we wanted to determine if endangered sharks are also sold in Asian pet food.
According to the study, most items utilized generic names like "fish," "ocean fish," "white bait," or "white fish" instead of shark. Some recipes called for "tuna" or "salmon," while others didn't mention fish at all.
The authors add, Sharks were not specified as ingredients on any of the samples goods evaluated. While this is neither prohibited nor compulsory, we believe that many pet owners and lovers would be shocked to learn that they are likely contributing to the unsustainable fishing tactics that have resulted in large losses in global shark populations."
According to a research published in the journal Nature last year, global shark and ray populations have declined by more than 70% in the previous 50 years, owing primarily to overfishing. According to NBC News' Michael Casey in 2012, up to 70 million sharks are slaughtered each year for their fins.
We are on the verge of losing this historic collection of creatures, species by species, right here, right now, Andy Cornish, the worldwide shark and ray conservation program head, told the Environment News Service last year. Governments must take significantly more action right now to control fishing and bring these functionally vital species back from the verge of extinction.
Shark meat might be utilized in pet food, according to the authors, in an effort to reduce waste in the shark fin industry, where low-value corpses are frequently dumped.