SO YA WANNA EAT SHARKS, EH? That's cool, providing they're the legal kinds.
While I’m fully on the conserve/release sharks bandwagon, there are some species that are fully keepable and mighty damn edible. Most sharks in the can-keep category, like the mako, are usually pushing very healthy populations -- or are under strict bag and size limits, again, the mako.
Reading history documents, it seems that humans ate shark a lot more freely long ago, among those, Native Americans. Of course, they utilized every part and parcel of the fish, from skin to teeth.
Nowadays, keeping shark is far less of a survival act and more of a gastronomical adventure – an adventure tainted a bit by biological science. Oddly, it’s pee thing.
Most sharks pee though their skin. Having no bladder, per se, a shark offs its urea (urine) by biologically passing it through its body and out skin pores. Yes, you might say that sharks sweat off their piss but not in mixed or uneducated company.
This bodily transport of urea is no sweat for a shark. Inside its body, the urea is buffered by something called tri-methyl amine oxide (TMAO). It must by a damn decent buffering work since sharks can live to ripe old ages, possibly 100 years.
It’s dying that screws up the internal urea/TMAO balance.
Shortly after a shark’s demise, the TMAO breaks down, loosing the urea, which quickly converts to ammonia – far from a cherished smell or taste among humans. Remember, this is about eating sharks.
But, can a shark get ammonia-ized even before demise?
I believe that just the trauma of being landed damages a shark’s insides, leading to a localized disruption/breaking of the TMAO/urea bonds. That can’t be good for said shark. It might even be the reason for such a high mortality rate for caught-damaged-and-released sharks. It’s long been known that sharks handled roughly, or dropped to the ground, are usually goners, even when quickly released. Uric poisoning? It’s quite possible. Other creature might also know the shark’s Achilles heel. Dolphins savagely smash sharks from the side and underbelly. They might not know the exact urea/TMAO chemical thing but they sure as hell have learned from past experience that smashing the ever-lovin’ hell outta sharks’ soft spots can send them belly-up.
More of a certainty is the conversion of urea to ammonia the moment a shark dies.
With urine in mind, a shark should be instantaneously “bled” upon being invited home to dinner. And damn if there aren’t multiple theories on bleeding one of those buggers.
A common bleeding procedure here in Jersey is to cut deeply behind the head, then hold the fish by the tail, allowing it to bleed out. A fellow I know does the head cut, bleeds it a bit, then solidly slams the shark on the ocean surface a few times -- a sight that gets passersby openly gawking. He says the splashy impact drives the ocean water “through the shark and cleans it out.”
Another widely held bleeding procedure is to first cut deeply at the tail first. Then, hold the shark near the head (red flags if the fish is still snappin’) and let it bleed out, via the southern route.
For those wanting to go full Monty on a dinner shark, cut both head and tail deeply. If you have a hose, force water through the shark’s backbone system. Now that’s a bled shark.
Important: When cutting sharks for bleeding, try not to totally sever either the head or tail. This can open up a can of legal worms related to finning.
I’ll note here that the luscious mako is one of only a couple sharks with a bladder, albeit a primitive model of bladder. The other is a thresher shark, not nearly as tasty overall.
Below is a righteous rundown on how to prepare a shark. It comes from cpn_aaron at http://www.pierandsurf.com.
How to fillet a shark:From beach to freezer
I figured with all the questions on how to prep a shark within the various sections on here I’d give my 2 cents. I’m a catch and release kind of sharker, but I keep one or two males of the commonest species once in a while. I had a small (36 3/4” FL) blacktip die on my line last night, which bummed me out but made me realize I could use his unfortunate demise as a teaching tool.
There are numerous methods people espouse for cleaning and filleting sharks. The popular one is from a New Zealand kite surfing webpage,
http://www.fishingkites.co.nz/articles/articlefive.htm, but I find it wasteful and it doesn’t tell you how best to cut fin rays and spines free from the finished trunk. As you get larger sharks this method wastes a good deal of available meat. As a person who prefers to not kill them, I like to use as much available meat as possible when I do keep one. So lets get started shall we?
You will need:
1 shark (pretty obvious)
lemon juice (~1 qt for a 5 fter)
SHARP fillet knife
Sharpner (you will use this often)
kitchen counter (if your wife is asleep)
Start on the beach. As soon as you realize you want to keep the shark put it out of its misery. Many people just cut the sline whereever they can. The killing is best accomplished by cutting through the spine near the front of the gills. This will cause the shark to lose function in heart and gills. This is the difference between making it Christopher Reeves and actually killing it. Cutting up here will also aid in bleeding out the gills by cutting into them. Now run your knife along the base of the tail to sever the caudal artery and vein. You can cut the tail off but I worry about FL wardens claiming I’m finning sharks as by law all sharks must be maintained whole until you leave the jetty, beach, dock, etc. The shark’s slowing heart should now pump most of the blood out of its body via these two main venous systems. I then gut the shark and wash it in the waves until the tail and other gut cavity stops dripping copious blood. Put that bad boy on ice until you’re ready to head home
Once departing, depending on your shark’s size you can either cut the head free from the body just past the pectoral fins. If you have a larger shark (4.5 ft and up) you can take 2 cuts that run above the gills and end at the cartilaginous projections at the pectoral fins (superficial cuts are made in the picture to show general area of cuts). These cuts taste just like the rest of the fish, but most people throw them out. They can in a 4.5 ft shark provide a meal for 2 by themselves.
Next flip the shark over and feel the area near the anal fins. You can feel the cartilage that holds them together. Cut this away from the fish leaving you with a nice ready to fillet piece.
The easiest way to remove the spine and halve the fish is to make a cut down middle of the fish giving wide berth to the dorsal fins as shown. This will give you two pieces of shark, one with fins and spine and one ready to fillet.
Take the piece with the spine and fins and make an incision above and below the spine at a slight diagonal to meet on the other side of the fish mid spine. This sounds difficult but it’s easy to do since sharks only have the spine and there is nothing but muscle left on the fish by this point. When looking at the fins you will notice that there are vertical muscles and fibers near the trunks horizontal muscles. These are the fin rays and they are inedible. Just cut around the fin rays and you’ll have removed the fins leaving a piece of the shark that is ready for filleting like the other half.
Now segment your two fillets into portions you’d use for typical per person meals. Here this shark could be split into 3-4 portions (~1/3-1/2 lb) per side. A note, on 4ft and greater sharks face the shark gut cavity facing you and you’ll see a line that shows where belly muscles end and trunk muscles start (can see the line in pic 5). Cut a portion along this line for each 1/2 a shark. Unlike bony fishes which have bones and fatty deposits in their bellies, shark belly flaps taste like the rest of the fish. Sharks store all fat in the liver and lack bones making this area worth portioning and filleting. In a small shark, like the one shown, the belly is small enough to fillet with the rest of the trunk.
Next step is where some people make a mistake, they then set the fish down and fillet. This will not work since the shark’s meat has skin on three sides and it is difficult to get any good fillet knife action when you’re cutting in 3 dimensions. To solve this problem, simply cut down the fillet to create steaks with only skin on the one side.
Then simply fillet the meat as you would for any other fish with one exception. With bony fish you tend to run the knife right along the skin to get the most meat possible. Doing this on a shark will result in gaining tons of red meat that tastes off as its full of blood, and hence urea. I tend to give myself 2-3 mm of room off the skin and fillet the skin free. This will provide you with mostly white fillets. There will be some redness, but this is unavoidable due to this muscle type being found within certain points of the body. Good news is you won’t notice it at all when eating as there is so little of it.
After getting my fillets I place them in a Tupperware dish and fill with 100% lemon juice (any brand will do as you see Wal Mart bargain juice works great) to just cover the fillets. I prefer numerous shallow dishes to use less juice and cover more shark. The duration of lemon juice soak depends on fillet size. The fillets picture range from 1/2” -3/4” and less than 7 min was sufficient. The thickest fillets I’ve done were 2 1/2” thick and I just over half covered them and gave them 8 min a side. Lemon juice is an acid which pulls the urea out of the flesh. People also buttermilk but I’m unclear about durations and amounts necessary. I prefer lemon juice because if done right it will leave a faint lemon vest to your fillets. One last word of warning, don’t keep the fillets in too long or the citrus acid will chemically cook the fillets. They’ll become shriveled and dry. However, this takes a while, so simply setting a timer and getting them out is sufficient.
After a soak pat them dry with paper towel and store in freezer bags however you see fit. I hope this helps answer questions about filleting a shark that I’ve seen asked. My method is fairly quick from bleeding to soaking time (this shark took me 15 min and yielded 5 lbs of meat) and wastes very little shark. Tight lines and I hope this helps everyone out.
Check out the corvette Indy Pace Car at my house ...
Joseph J Firman Jr
Fun morning on the Bay!!!
Three Sun Safety Tips for Boaters
Did you know July tallies the largest total number of daylight hours? Perhaps that’s why it’s been designated as UV Safety Awareness Month.
While you’re no doubt aware of the risks of overexposure to the sun—sunburn, premature aging, eye damage and worse—did you know that being on the water can increase your exposure to the sun? Surfaces that reflect light also reflect the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. As a result, on a boat you need to be aware not only of the sun’s direct rays, but also its reflection from the water and deck of your boat.
The best way to protect yourself is to put up a good defense—your strategy should includeaccessories like sunscreen, sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat and sun protective clothing.
Start with Sunscreen. The sun emits two types of UV radiation known to damage skin: UVA and UVB rays. UVA beams penetrate deeply and cause sunspots, wrinkling and leathering of the skin. UVB rays cause sunburn and skin cancer. Clearly, you’ll want to block both—look for sunscreens that offer broad-spectrum protection. For UVB protection, choose an SPF (sun protection factor) rating of at least 15 (and go higher if you’re going to be out on the water all day). Experts recommend you apply sunscreen to all exposed skin—including ears and the part in your hair— and reapply it every couple hours or after swimming, even if it’s labeled water-resistant.
Make a fashion statement. For sun protection you only need to “apply” once choose sun protective clothing. While all fabrics offer some UV protection, sun protective clothing is specially designed to block UV rays. Similar to SPF for sunscreen, apparel features a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) rating. UPF numbers indicate how well a fabric shields skin from both UVA and UVB rays. For example, a shirt with a UPF of 50 allows only 1/50th of the UV radiation to reach your skin. Add a wide-brimmed hat to shield your face and eyes.
Get an eye for style — and safety. Out on the water, sunglasses are more than a fashion accessory—they’re safety equipment. Reflected light—or glare—can cause you to squint and impair your vision. Polarized lenses cut glare without reducing the intensity of the light reaching your eyes. Of course, you’ll also want lenses that block UVA and UVB rays. There are even specs made just for boaters that float.
Learn more about sun safety: http://www.foh.hhs.gov/calendar/july.html
When done wading through all the updates below, the Orbital 2 rocket is a daytime launch at 12:52 tomorrow, Sunday, July 13. We're in a good viewing position, though cloud cover might play a ruiner.
How to Watch Spectacular Antares Commercial Launch to ISS on July 13 – Complete Viewing Guide
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Orbital 2 Launch from NASA Wallops Island, VA on July 12, 2014- Time of First Sighting Map
This map shows the rough time at which you can first expect to see Antares after it is launched on July 12, 2014. It represents the time at which the rocket will reach 5 degrees above the horizon and varies depending on your location . We have selected 5 degrees as it is unlikely that you’ll be able to view the rocket when it is below 5 degrees due to buildings, vegetation, and other terrain features. As an example, using this map when observing from Washington, DC shows that Antares will reach 5 degrees above the horizon more after than a minute. Credit: Orbital Sciences
See more trajectory viewing maps and NASA TV broadcast link below
NASA WALLOPS FLIGHT FACILITY, VA – Catching a break from nearly relentless and damaging thunderstorms along the US East coast, Orbital Sciences Corp. was finally able to roll their commercial Antares rocket out to its beachside launch pad at NASA Wallops Flight Facility, VA, early this morning, July 10, following a weather postponement that pushed the scheduled liftoff back by
one day to Saturday, July 12 from Friday, July 11.
UPDATE: Orbital Sciences Corp. has postponed the launch of its Cygnus cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station until 12:52 p.m. EDT on Sunday, July 13, from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Severe weather in the Wallops area has repeatedly interrupted Orbital’s operations schedule leading up to the launch.
The long delayed blastoff of the privately developed Antares rocket on a critical cargo mission bound for the International Space Station (ISS) and packed with science experiments is now slated for
1:14 p.m. on July 12 12:52 p.m. EDT on Sunday, July 13 from Launch Pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at NASA Wallops Island on Virginia’s Eastern shore
Read more: http://www.universetoday.com/113108/how-to-watch-spectacular-antare...
Finally done with this.