Can you eat bonnet-head shark?

In this brief article, we will provide an answer to the question, “Can you eat bonnet-head shark?”. Apart from this, we will elaborate on the nutritional content of bonnet-head sharks, and some advantages and disadvantages of eating bonnet-head sharks. 

Can you eat bonnet-head shark?

Yes, you can eat the bonnet-head shark. Only very few types of bonnet-head sharks are poisonous and must not be eaten but except for those few all other bonnet-head sharks are edible. Before cooking and consuming a bonnet-head shark, one factor must be considered. That is bonnet-head sharks must be properly cleaned. 

The bonnethead shark is a sportfish for some people, and though it’s not as sought after for food as the mako or other sharks, the meat can be dried, eaten fresh, or turned into fishmeal (1).

The taste of bonnet-head sharks

The taste of bonnet-head sharks is mild. The texture of bonnet-head sharks is medium to firm and its color is white. Because of the firm texture of bonnet-head sharks, its meat is very appropriate for slicing into steaks or dividing into chunks that can be arranged on skewer sticks. Their flesh is similar to other sharks: firm with a darker coloration (1).

The nutritional content of bonnet-head shark

The meat of bonnet-head sharks contains multiple nutrients. Following nutrients can be obtained from eating bonnet-head sharks, according to the USDA:

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Phosphorus
  • Sodium

How to cook bonnet-head shark

Sharks must be bled out as soon as possible, and the meat should be soaked to remove blood; they have a slightly different renal system compared to other animals. Their renal systems excrete urine or urea into their flesh, and it leaves their bodies out the pores in their skin.

Anglers need to cut and bleed out sharks while still alive to begin the blood letting process. Afterwards, the filets or steak cuts need to be soaked in a saltwater solution to remove blood and any leftover urea from the flesh. Then, shark meat can be enjoyed just as any other firm-fleshed meat from the sea (1).

Following are some steps that must be followed while cooking bonnet-head shark

  • Cleaning and slicing the meat of bonnet-head: If bonnet-head meat is not handled well, it can be destroyed as the meat of bonnet-head sharks tends to spoil quickly. Bonnet-head meat with moist translucent flesh is preferred. It is best to confirm that it is not flaky.
  • Immerse the meat in the milk for 4 hours: The bonnet-head meat is immersed in milk after adjustment in a refrigerator safety plate. The reason behind soaking is to remove the ammonia smell. 

The type of milk does not influence the process. Most people do well with any type of cow’s milk or buttermilk, but options including soy milk or even lemon juice are fine in a small quantity

  • Cut out the darkish meat and skin with a kitchen knife– The areas across the skin give the darkish meat. This darkish meat does not have a pleasant taste and has lines. Since shark skin is not required in most recipes, it can be removed.
  • Cut the shark into steaks between 1 and 2 inches (2.5-5).1 cm thick: Using a knife, the bonnet shark is sliced ​​and divided into small pieces. Do not cut the shark very thick or very thin. Shark meat can be easily dried during cooking because it is lean.

So, to avoid this drought, the shark is maintained after the trench. While steaks are a common way of cooking and eating sharks, you can also cut steaks into smaller pieces, for example when making kebabs or ceviche.

Different recipes in which bonnet-head sharks are used

Here we have shared some recipes in which bonnet-head shark is used as an ingredient.

  • Fried shark meat: After cutting filets into one-inch chunks, the lemon is cut into four pieces. Shark pieces are placed in a large bowl and a sufficient amount of water is also added to cover the meat. 

One lemon juice is extracted, it is added to shark pieces. After five minutes the shark is removed from the water. Flour, salt, pepper, including low or no salt seafood flavoring are added. Shark pieces are deep-fried until they turn golden brown.

  • Marinated Recipe: After combining all the marinade ingredients in a medium-sized bowl, these are mixed. Put the dish of fish and the marinade in the fridge and let it marinate for fifteen mins. Remove and turn the steaks. 

Place them back in the fridge to marinate for another fifteen minutes. Then, remove the shark steaks from the marinade, and place them in an oiled baking tray. Set the tray in a preheated oven at 400℉. Let it cook for ten minutes per inch of depth or till the fish slices smoothly.

Characteristics of bonnet-head shark

Following are some advantages of bonnet-head sharks:

  • Flat elongated heads: Bonnet-head sharks have a flat, elongated head, so they have more variety of ampullae of Lorenzini. They are basically sensors that help sharks detect both electrical impulses and magnetic sensations in animals.
  • Better Vision: These sharks have better eyesight than other sharks that do not have sight directly in front or behind them. Bonnet-head sharks can trap stingrays against the ocean ground to make their bat a meal like progenitors.
  • The bonnethead shark sticks close to shore and hunts in shallow waters frequented by humans, usually dines on shrimp, small crabs, and small fish in seagrass meadows. Studies show that, although bonnethead has the same short intestines as its hammerhead relatives and not the longer guts that plant eaters use to digest fibrous material, they can digest seagrass. Results indicate that microbes in the bonnethead shark’s guts are doing the digestion of seagrass for it (2).

Disadvantages of bonnet-head sharks

Some species of bonnet-head sharks are poisonous and humans can die after consuming them. These sharks can also sometimes attack humans.

Bonnet-head sharks may be contaminated with high concentrations of Mercury (Hg), which accumulate in the form of Methylmercury (MeHg). The accumulation of MeHg in the brain causes loss of cells in specific brain areas such as the cerebellum, visual cortex and other focal areas. Other main target organs include the pituitary gland, liver and kidney. Methylmercury readily crosses the placental barrier subsequently affecting the neurological development in developing fetuses. Symptoms of MeHg intoxication in humans include impaired vision and hearing, headaches, paraesthesia, movement difficulties and loss of coordination, fatigue, tremors and ataxia (3).

Other FAQs about Fish that you may be interested in.

How long is fish good for in the fridge?

Can you eat 2 year old frozen fish?

6 ways to preserve fish


In this short article, it has been discussed whether we can eat bonnet-head sharks or not. Apart from this the nutritional content of bonnet-head sharks, different recipes, advantages and disadvantages of bonnet-head sharks have been discussed. 


  1. Burleson, J. Bonnethead are supreme table fare. Carolina Sportsman Magazine, 2014.
  2. Pennisi, E. Meet The World’s First Salad-Eating Shark. Science, 2018.
  3. Bosch, Adina C., et al. Heavy metals in marine fish meat and consumer health: a review. J Sci Food Agric, 2016, 96, 32-48. 

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