Shark for Dinner? Fishermen’s Alliance Says ‘Yes’

Dogfish_Species PhotoCHATHAM – Large sharks have been in the news throughout the summer, but one smaller species is now being considered as a fisherman-friendly alternative to more heavily-regulated species, such as cod.

The Dogfish is being promoted by the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance, after a two-year government grant was acquired for domestic market research. Previously, the “Cape shark” – a new branding name – had been heavily sold in other nations such as England.

Fisherman’s Alliance Spokesperson Nancy Civetta described the flavor of Cape shark as “very mild.”

“It takes on the flavor of whatever you’re cooking it with: it does well with blackening spices; frying it up for fish and chips. The Corner Store in Orleans features it every Friday in their burrito,” Civetta said.

Dogfish are a schooling fish which migrates northward around July, and are very prolific in Cape waters through October, according to Civetta.

She said around 6 million pounds of them have been caught out of Chatham alone.

“We feel that by developing domestic markets and keeping it local, we’re not only going to give consumers a healthy, delicious white fish to eat but will also help the economy by creating stability in the market,” she said.

The Alliance has already successfully had “Cape shark” approved by the FDA. Civetta said she hopes to see it on local menus – instead of Icelandic cod.


  1. Ugly-looking fish, not helped by two awful names. Surely someone can come up with a better name to make it more palatable on a restaurant menu. How about a contest?

    • A naming contest is a great idea and in fact, has been done a few times in the last couple of years, by news stations and other entities. Some of the more popular names (Atlantic White Fish, Eastern Rover etc..) could have possibly caught on with the public, but fish species names are controlled by the FDA, partially in response to the widespread fish fraud that has happened recently. (I’m sure you have read about restaurants and fishmongers across the country misleading consumers about the true species they are selling.) So the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance embraced a name that was already established by the FDA, which is especially concerned about clearly identifying all shark species. We hope you will learn to love Cape shark, not only as a name but also as a local fish that is abundant, sustainable, and most importantly, a vital part of the Cape Cod fishing economy!

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