In this brief article, we will answer the question, “Can you eat mako shark?”. We will further elaborate on the taste of mako sharks, different recipes, and some health benefits of mako sharks.
Can you eat mako shark?
Yes, you can eat mako shark. Mako sharks are safe for consumption. They have dense flesh and are meaty. These characteristics make them very versatile. The fat content of mako sharks is low. Shark protein has been found to be slightly superior when compared to casein (milk protein) as a standard reference with regards to the amino acid composition, being rich in lysine, arginine, alanine, glutamic acid, threonine and cysteine (2).
The taste of mako shark
The taste of mako shark is slightly sweet and meaty. Regarding flavor and texture, mako shark meat has much resemblance to swordfish. The only difference is that the flesh of mako sharks has more moisture than swordfish. The color of the uncooked mako shark is ivory pink. This color turns muddy or reddish after it is cooked.
However, fish muscle also contains nitrogen-containing compounds of non-protein nature. This non-protein nitrogen exists mainly in the form of urea and trimethylamine oxide in shark meat and can make up a significant part of the total nitrogen content. These compounds play an important role in osmoregulation in the shark’s body, but can negatively affect the meat quality and flavor if the carcass and meat is not handled correctly after catch (2).
Types of mako sharks
The shark genus Isurus is cosmopolitan and represented by two species: the shortfin mako Isurus oxyrinchus and the longfin mako lsurus paucus. Besides a few cetaceans and man, the adult mako shark is not prey to any marine animal, but is considered an apex predator at the top of the marine environment food web. Shortfin and longfin mako sharks are often captured incidentally in various pelagic fisheries throughout the world and may be vulnerable to overfishing (1). There are two types of mako sharks that are as follows.
Longfin mako sharks: Longfin mako shark belongs to the family Lamnidae. It is not much common as compared to shortfin mako shark. The habitat of longfin mako sharks is moderately deep water.
The feeding of longfin mako sharks depends on small-sized schooling bony fishes as these are predators. The embryos of longfin mako sharks hatch from eggs inside the uterus, i.e., its reproduction is aplacental viviparous.
Shortfin mako sharks: Shortfin mako sharks make a large species of mako sharks. The growth rate of mako sharks is much higher as compared to other species of the family Lamnid.
Shortfin mako sharks have the potential to show countershading. There is a very unique line of distinction between blue and white on their body. The bottom of the snout and the place around the mouth is white
The nutritional content of mako sharks
A study showed that 100 g mako shark meat contains, in average: 78 g moisture, 20 g protein, 0.6 g lipids. Minerals are many: 12 mg Ca, 35 mg Cu, 1.2 mg Fe, 325 mg K, 104 mg Na, 220 mg P and 0.4 mg Zn (2).
How much time is required for cooking mako shark?
Almost forty minutes are required for cooking mako shark. After preheating the oven to 325 degrees centigrade, mako shark is arranged on a baking sheet. This sheet is then baked in the preheated oven and is cooked completely. During cooking, steaks are turned once or twice.
Soaking shark meat in milk
According to some researchers, it is mandatory to soak mako shark meat in milk. The reason behind this is that without soaking it in milk, shark meat will give a nasty taste. Mako shark meat must be soaked for about four to five hours in milk.
Interesting facts about mako sharks
- Male and female mako sharks avoid each other: Researchers have found that mako sharks practice sexual segregation. Mako sharks show this behavior to protect females from harassment who are not willing for reproduction.
- Slow growth rate: The gestation period of mako sharks is about fifteen months. Male mako sharks become full-fledged adults at the age of nine years. While females hit adult age at about eighteen years. And after about 29 to 32 years mako sharks die.
- Mako sharks can jump to boats: Some cases have been reported in which short-finned mako sharks jumped to boats.
Drawbacks of mako sharks
Some drawbacks of mako sharks are mentioned below
- Presence of lead: High quantity of lead present in mako sharks is harmful to health as it causes many irregularities like migraine.
- Contains arsenic: Arsenic is injurious for skin, lungs and sometimes leads to stroke.
In addition, studies show that mako shark meat contains high levels of Hg. Neurodevelopmental impairments associated with maternal consumption of seafoods containing high levels of Hg in their edible portions have been reported.Selenium is highly protective against Hg, preventing lethality and other consequences otherwise associated with Hg toxicity in adults, growing adolescents, and offspring exposed in utero. Therefore, the presence of Se in ocean fish and the significance of its protective effects against Hg are important considerations in the seafood safety issue. However, although mako shark meat contains Selenium in its composition, its concentration is considered low (0.32 micrograms) compared to other fish species. Therefore, consuming this type of meat can be a risk of Hg intoxication (3).
The interaction of mako sharks with human
No case of attack by mako sharks on humans has been reported yet. But due to the huge size of mako fish and their teeth, these seem much more dangerous. Humans generally use the meat of mako sharks for marketing fresh, frozen, dried and salted. Plus, the fins of mako sharks can also be utilized by humans for use in shark fin soup.
Can you eat raw mako shark?
Yes, mako sharks can be eaten raw. Many people prefer to eat sharks in raw form. But one point must be kept in mind that raw mako shark spoils very quickly. The reason behind this is a high quantity of urea present in the blood. Due to this, we must soak it in several changes of water after bleeding it.
Why are mako sharks endangered?
Mako sharks have been listed as a globally endangered species. Mako sharks are targeted heavily for their fins. Also, the growth rate of mako sharks is very slow. This slow growth rate is also a major factor for the mako shark being listed as endangered. Mako sharks acquire maturity late and have a long gestation period.
Researchers have documented such declines and many shark populations in general at various geographical locations are believed to be at critical population levels or may have already collapsed due to direct or indirect fishing activities. Sharks are long lived, slow growing, reach sexual maturity late in their life history, and produce few offspring; thus, overall population growth is slower and sharks have a lower growth rate than most teleosts (1).
Other FAQs about Fish that you may be interested in.
In this brief article, we have provided an answer to the question, “Can you eat mako shark?”. We have further elaborated on the taste of mako sharks, different recipes, and some health benefits of mako sharks.
- Levesque, Juan Carlos. A comprehensive review of the biology and preliminary investigation of interactions with the US pelagic longline fishery for the shortfin (Isurus oxyrinchus) and longfin (Isurus paucus) mako sharks. 2007.
- Bosch, Adina Cornelia. Investigation of the chemical composition and nutritional value of smoothhound shark (Mustelus mustelus) meat. Diss. Stellenbosch: Stellenbosch University, 2012.
- Kaneko, J.J., Ralston, N.V.C. Selenium and Mercury in Pelagic Fish in the Central North Pacific Near Hawaii. Biol Trace Elem Res 119, 242–254 (2007).