Sharks from endangered species have been discovered in pet food, according to DNA studies.
DNA testing uncover endangered shark species in pet food. According to a new study, pet owners may be accidentally giving their animals meat from endangered shark species.
Researchers from Yale-NUS College in Singapore were curious about the ambiguous ingredient listings on pet food packets, which boast things like "fish," "ocean fish," and "white bait." They wanted to find out what people are really giving their beloved pets.
The researchers employed DNA barcoding to see if shark DNA was present in 45 different pet food products from 16 different brands in Singapore, and they published their findings in Frontiers in Marine Science on Friday.
The majority of pet owners are undoubtedly nature lovers, and we believe most would be shocked to learn that they may be unwittingly contributing to shark overfishing," Yale-NUS College authors Ben Wainwright and Ian French said in a statement.
The researchers found shark DNA in 31 percent of the 144 samples they collected, with the blue shark (Prionace glauca) being the most commonly detected species, followed by the silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis) and the whitetip reef shark (Triaenodon obesus). The whitetip reef shark and the silky shark are both classified as "vulnerable" on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, according to the researchers.
None of the goods purchased specified shark as an ingredient, instead describing their contents with general catch-all terms like 'fish,' 'ocean fish,' 'white bait,' or 'white fish," the scientists wrote.
The Yale-NUS College study builds on a study published in Conservation Genetics in 2019 that discovered a high level of shark meat in pet food samples collected across the United States, prompting the researchers to look into Asian products as well.
In light of their findings, the scientists advised governments to enact worldwide pet food labeling regulations in order to reduce overfishing of endangered shark species. They emphasized the necessity of eliminating vague catch-all phrases in ingredient lists" in order to give consumers the information they need to make educated decisions.
According to the experts, sharks are critical for the maintenance of a healthy marine ecosystem since they are apex predators in the oceanic food chain. However, the authors point out that a rising shark fin and meat trade is putting shark populations in jeopardy, with an estimated 100 million sharks slaughtered each year.
The food supply is threatened by Russia's battle in the world's "breadbasket. Shark meat is also a silent contributor" in daily items like cosmetics, according to the researchers, including shark-derived squalene oil in beauty products.
Shark populations are overfished all over the world, with confirmed reductions of more than 70% in the previous 50 years, Wrainright and French continued. This reflects the current disregard with which we regard our oceans.