This week's Trashfish catch was caught on a swordfish longline boat. Let's unpack that a bit. A longline boat uses hundreds of hooks set at intervals along a fishing line. The fishermen will scout out a productive fishing area, and then will set out a line of baited hooks into the water. This fishing method is prone to incidental catch, or catching fish that wasn't targeted. However when done correctly long lining can be extremely sustainable, and has minimal impacts on the environment.
Your mako this week was a very small percentage of the overall catch, meaning the fishermen did a great job in correctly utilizing his fishing gear and skill to catch a minimal amount of other species. Sharks are particularly susceptible to being caught in long lining and gill net fisheries due to their biology. Most shark species (except for species such as Nurse Sharks which live on the ocean floor) need a constant stream of water running over their gills to intake oxygen. When they are caught in nets they don't always get the amount of oxygen they need to survive, and frequently die in the nets before the fishermen even notices. When fishermen longline for swordfish and tuna they set their lines in deeper water where the fish swim, so sharks frequently get caught when they are in pursuit of their prey.
While we don't always recommend eating shark, this week we are encouraging you to try something new! Rest assured, your shark wasn't specifically targeted and actually made up a very small portion of the overall catch. Instead of tossing a perfectly good fish overboard, the fishermen made the decision to sell the fish to Trashfish and ensure that people can start to learn the taste of Mako.
Mako tastes extremely similar to swordfish, and even has a similar texture and color. When buying swordfish in a retail location you can always check the skin of the filet, swordfish fillets have a smooth texture while shark species will have a sandpaper skin texture. Seafood mislabeling is a huge problem in the seafood industry, so take this opportunity to educate your tastebuds and support a local fisherman!