Dogfish gets a bad rap. It's a predator in the shark family, and fishermen complain about it because it eats groundfish and bait. But it's also incredibly abundant.
Unlike groundfish populations, dogfish stocks are actually in great shape. There was a time in the late eighties and early nineties when dogfish was in trouble—fishermen were going after older, often female fish, and the species was crashing. But these days, local fishermen will tell you there are more than enough dogfish in the sea.
So let's eat them! Sure, they're not your usual flakey whitefish. But the English and French love them in fish & chips, and there's no reason we should be shipping them over there (especially at 12 cents a pound!) when we're low on local cod and could be eating them here. Several groups came together to do a taste test at UMass Amherst, and dogfish (labeled as shark) tasted "the same, better, or much better" than the students' favorite fish 94 percent of the time. Ready to try it?
Here are your options. You could buy a fillet (try calling your local fish market to special order it, as most can get it easily but have a hard time selling enough to carry it regularly) and try the recipe Alex and I came up with for a Spicy Spiny Dogfish Sandwich. Think blackened fish, a whole wheat bun, homemade coleslaw, cilantro, sriracha mayo, and good pickles. Or if that sounds daunting, the Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen's Association is hosting a dogfish meet & greet on Tuesday, August 27th at 5:30. You can learn more here. Support our fleet!