What shark species are on the menu?

Project: Research

Project Details


Large quantities of flake are consumed in Australia, and despite rising public support for sustainable
seafood, there is little information on the shark species traded. We have over 4,000 ‘fish and chip’ shops, and
many more restaurants and supermarkets selling flake. Flake is thought to be comprised of two species of
gummy shark (Mustelus antarcticus and M. lenticulatus), considered a sustainable fishery in Australian and
New Zealand. However, the capture of gummy shark is known to carry substantial bycatch of school shark
(Galeorhinus galeus), which have been significantly depleted by overfishing (Vulnerable; IUCN). Further, any
species of shark can be traded as flake, and bycatch could include scalloped hammerhead (Endangered)
shortfin mako (Vulnerable) and sandbar sharks (Vulnerable). Given the quantity of flake consumed
nationally, even small proportions of threatened species bycatch has sustainability implications. Consumers
are mostly unaware that flake is shark meat, and this is compounded by species labelling being voluntary.
Currently raw or frozen fish requires source information, but cooked fish has no such requirement.
Consequently, there is little opportunity for consumers to discern sustainability. Concern over the
conservation implications has been raised, yet the scale of the problem is yet to be rigorously evaluated
Effective start/end date28/03/1931/12/19