Singaporean researchers have found that roughly a third of pet foods theytested contained shark DNA, including the vulnerable-listed Silky Shark.

The study, published in Frontiers in Marine Science, examined 45 different petfood products in Singapore, and of the 144 samples 31 per cent contained sharkDNA.

The most identified DNA was the Blue Shark, closely followed by the SilkyShark, and Whitetip Reef Shark, the latter two of which are both listed as‘vulnerable’ in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) RedList.

Authors Dr Ben Wainwright and Ian French, of Yale-NUS College, said after aprevious 2019 study of American pet food found traces of shark meat, theywanted to examine if Asian pet food yielded the same results.

“None of the products purchased listed shark as an ingredient, using onlygeneric catch-all terms such as ‘fish’, ‘ocean fish’, ‘white bait’ or ‘whitefish’ to describe their contents.”

Wainwright and French urged for more transparency in the ingredients of petfood products and to avoid using blanket terms in ingredient lists to allowconsumers to make more informed choices when purchasing pet foods.

“The majority of pet owners are likely lovers of nature, and we think mostwould be alarmed to discover that they could be unknowingly contributing tothe overfishing of shark populations.”

Sharks are a crucial part of a healthy marine ecosystem, and by shifting theirprey’s distribution, which changes the feeding strategy of other species, theymaintain a balance of the food chain. The drop in shark numbers has led to thedecline in seagrass beds and coral reefs

“Shark populations are overfished throughout the world, with declines of morethan 70 per cent in the last 50 years documented. This is indicative of thecurrent lack of regard in which we hold our oceans.”

Tagged: Pet Food, Silky Shark

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