February 29, 2024

Endangered Shark Species Secretly Added to Pet Food – Identified by DNA Barcoding

Animal owners may unknowingly be feeding their animals with meat from endangered shark species, reveals a new research study published in Frontiers in Marine Science. The researchers used DNA barcoding to investigate the event of shark in different family pet food items acquired in Singapore, which revealed a significant frequency of active ingredient mislabeling. A group of researchers at Yale-NUS College in Singapore evaluated pet food products purchased within Singapore and found that these terms may refer to threatened shark meat.
The growing shark fin and meat trade is putting shark populations at risk. Overfishing is the greatest danger to sharks worldwide, and an absence of efficient monitoring and management of fishing practices adds problem to vulnerable shark species.

Blue Shark
Animal owners may unconsciously be feeding their animals with meat from threatened shark species, shows a new research study published in Frontiers in Marine Science. The scientists used DNA barcoding to investigate the occurrence of shark in various animal foodstuff acquired in Singapore, which exposed a significant occurrence of active ingredient mislabeling. They recommended implementing worldwide requirements for pet food labels to prevent overexploitation of threatened sharks.
If you ever checked out the active ingredient list on your animals preferred food, you might discover ambiguous terms such as fish, ocean fish, or white bait. Have you ever wondered what precisely these components are? A team of scientists at Yale-NUS College in Singapore examined pet food items purchased within Singapore and found that these terms might refer to threatened shark meat.
Shark population declines
Sharks are crucial for the functioning of healthy marine ecosystems. The loss of sharks has actually led to the decrease in seagrass beds and coral reefs.

The growing shark fin and meat trade is putting shark populations at risk. Research recommends that around 100m sharks might be eliminated every year. Overfishing is the biggest hazard to sharks worldwide, and a lack of efficient monitoring and management of fishing practices includes problem to susceptible shark species.
” Shark populations are overfished throughout the world, with decreases of more than 70% in the last 50 years documented. This is a sign of the current lack of regard in which we hold our oceans,” said authors Dr. Ben Wainwright and Ian French, of Yale-NUS College.
Silky Shark
Shark meat in everyday items
A quiet factor to the decrease in shark populations is making use of shark products in daily products such as pet food and cosmetics. Lots of individuals may not know that specific body care and beauty products may use shark-derived squalene (as opposed to plant-derived squalane).
Research study has also discovered shark meat in family pet foodstuff. A previous 2019 study discovered the occurrence of shark in 78 pet food samples gathered within the US..
” Given the outcomes of a previous research study carried out in the United States, we wanted to see if threatened sharks are also offered in Asian pet food,” explained the authors.
The researchers utilized DNA barcoding to examine whether there was shark DNA in 45 various family pet foodstuff from 16 different brands on sale in Singapore.
” None of the items purchased listed shark as an active ingredient, utilizing only generic catch-all terms such as fish, ocean fish, white bait or white fish to describe their contents,” stated Wainwright and French.
Of the 144 samples taken, 31% included shark DNA. The most identified sharks were the blue shark (Prionace glauca), followed by the silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis), and the whitetip reef shark (Triaenodon obesus)..
The smooth shark and the whitetip reef shark are listed as vulnerable in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. The silky shark is likewise noted in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendix II, which means that its trade should be controlled to prevent overconsumption that would threaten survival of the species.
Transparent labels.
The outcomes demonstrate the high overfishing pressure to which sharks are significantly subjected.
” The majority of pet owners are likely fans of nature, and we think most would be alarmed to find that they might be unknowingly contributing to the overfishing of shark populations,” commented the authors.
The authors advise for more transparency in the active ingredient labels of pet foodstuff. Avoiding vague catch-all terms in active ingredient lists to allow customers to make informed buying options and implementing worldwide standards for animal food labels are 2 actions to avoid shark overfishing.
A higher responsibility throughout pet and human food seafood supply chains is needed, which would alleviate unsustainable fishing and resource use incompatible with shark populations survival.
Referral: 4 March 2022, Frontiers in Marine Science.DOI: 10.3389/ fmars.2022.836941.