Cosmetics, Why Sharks?


It comes to no surprise, that despite moral implications, sharks are highly sought after for their liver oil (Squalene) because it is the cheapest and easiest way to extract the product while yielding the most.

To be specific, deep-sea sharks are targeted for the squalene market because they have some of the highest concentration of squalene. Some of these sharks of the deep have livers that take up to 20% of their body weight. Why do they have such massive livers? Most fish have a pocket of gas called a “swim bladder” to control buoyancy. Deep-sea sharks, however, have a large liver instead because it helps them stay buoyant under the immense pressure of the deep ocean.

It is estimated that 1 ton of shark liver oil is produced form 2,500 to 3,000 sharks. As we stated in the previous blog, that amounts to about 2.7 million sharks harvested every year for their livers.

When fishermen set out to sea, usually they have to come back to port fairly quickly after their catch to keep the seafood fresh. With shark fins, assuming that the shark is finned at sea, fishermen can keep the fins drying in the sun for as long as they like. Shark fins also take up far less room than a whole animal on a boat. The same is true with shark liver. Shark liver can be stored at room temperature, making it easy for the fishermen to stay at sea longer and catch more instead of using a costly refrigerator. It has also been known that fishermen will catch a shark, take out its liver and throw it back (not surviving). But this frees up room for more catches on the boat.

Laurel Irvine