Maine Seafood Guide - Dogfish


species description | season | status | regulatory authority |
harvest method | recreational harvest | health benefits & risks | 

buying & preparing | brands | certifications | links | featured harvester

Species Description
Spiny dogfish Squalus acanthias
also known as mud shark, horndog


Spiny dogfish is a member of the shark family, and has a long, slender, shark-like appearance with prominent spines on its back. They are highly migratory and common throughout the Gulf of Maine in summer, swimming in large schools or packs chasing mackerel, herring, menhaden, even cod and haddock.

May through October.
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Status (see the About page for definitions)
Spiny dogfish are abundant in the Gulf of Maine and not overfished. Overfishing is not occuring (more from
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Regulatory Authority
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.
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Harvest Method
Most are caught with bottom gillnets, some with trawls or hooks.
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Recreational Harvest
Yes, with hook and line.
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Health Benefits & Risks
Dogfish is a source of selenium and vitamins B6 and B12 and has a slightly higher fat content than other white-fleshed fish. Dogfish is a type of shark, and its position near the top of the food chain means that it may contain amounts of mercury in excess of the FDA's recommended limit. The State of Maine advises pregnant and nursing women, women who may get pregnant and children under 8 years of age to not eat any swordfish or shark. All other individuals should eat no more than 2 meals per month.
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Buying & Preparing
Dogfish are considered a nuisance by many fishermen and the species is uncommon in Maine fish markets. The flesh is boneless, white, and firm, and can have a strong taste. In Europe, dogfish is the species of choice for “fish and chips.”
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Companies, Brands, and Labels
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Certifications & Verifications
Gulf of Maine Research Institute is focusing on dogfish as part of their sustainable seafood programming.
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More from Fishwatch.
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Featured Harvester
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species description | season | status | harvest method | recreational harvest
health benefits & risks | 
buying & preparing | brands certifications | links | featured harvester