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Posted 5/25/2013 2:02pm by Sarah VanHorn.

In New England, when people hear dogfish, one of the first things to come to mind is Dogfish Head Craft Brews, in fact it is the first thing to pop up on Google search.  While many of us know Dogfish Head makes a fine 60 Minute IPA, what about the actual dogfish that are hunting our more valuable groundfish in packs just a short distance offshore here in New Hampshire?

Too many dogfish

Having fished on over 14 commercial fishing vessels at the peak of Dogfish Shark Season throughout the Summer of 2012, it's become clear that there seems to be a serious fishue with regards to one of the most dreaded creatures by New Hampshire fishermen.  Having been previously on the endangered species list, dogfish shark was overprotected by management throughout the past decade, mainly due to the fact that we know so little about the species as a whole.  It's unclear at what age dogfish sexually mature, how long they live, where they spawn, let alone where they migrate to and from.  Though over time, we were able to remove the species from the endangered species list, by overprotecting the species we have contributed to an infestation of dogs throughout our coastal waters, and for NH fishermen it has become a bit of a headache to say the least.  

In addition to the massive amounts of work peak dogfish season creates for the NH gillnetter, they are most dreaded for the minimal fares they fetch at auction. In comparison to the more popular species of fish such as cod, haddock, and pollock, with some fetching auction prices as high as $4 a pound, dogfish prices hardly compare at around $0.50 a pound.  And to make matters worst, dogfish are known for eating the more valuable groundfish, likely having a direct effect on the local fish stocks.  When gillnetters are catching lots of dogfish, it is likely they are catching very few groundfish.  

Kuris Lang Gillnetting for Dogs
                        Kurtis Lang Gillnetting, catching mostly Dogs
 We are embarking upon the opening of Dogfish shark season once again.  All last season, gillnetters had typically been filling their daily 3,000 pound limit after pulling in just one or two strings of nets, with an additional one to three strings yet in the water to be pulled in.  That means nearly every day during the season last summer, over 10 or so boats were landing 3,000 lbs. of dogfish shark a day.  Since this past season, fishery scientists have come to realize the severity of the issue, and since have raised the alloted quota per boat by 1,000 lbs. increasing it to an alloted 4,000 lbs. a day.  

Which begs the question, if there are so many dogfish being harvested within our local waters, why are we not buying dogfish in local markets or restaurants?  

Where are they all going?

Jamie Hayward and nothing but dogsGillnetter Jamie Hayward catching too many dogs and not enough fish

This is called getting "Dogged Up"
Aboard Heidi & Elisabeth, they call this getting "Dogged Up"

Pulling in a string of dogs
Pulling in a string infested with dogfish

Why aren't we as citizens of the east coast not eating one of the most abundant species of shark during the summertime when it is most plentiful?  It just doesn't make sense.  Currently the majority of our Seacoast's dogfish is being shipped to Europe where it is most commonly being used as fish and chips, especially in England.  Seeing as the majority of our seacoast's catch is being shipped across the Atlantic Ocean where so many others seem to love it, why don't we too?

Trying to decide what to do next...
Trying to decide what to do next...

As part of New Hampshire Community Seafood's community supported fishery, we'd like to give you the ability to take matters into your own hands.  We want you to have our fish first, especially our dogfish.  Take your fish back from our friends across the pond, and try something new.  

This upcoming season, our New Hampshire fishermen have agreed to provide our cooperative with an entirely new product, differentiating it from any other dogfish that has been offered within our Seacoast community before.  This season, our fishermen plan to gut, bleed, brine, and ice their dogfish immediately upon hauling it in, providing our CSF with the freshest product possible, and in doing so we as a cooperative are able to offer our fishermen a fair price for their catch.  It's a win win for us all.  By signing up for an Underdog Fish Share with our cooperative you will be given access to this diferentiated day boat dogfish, a product our commnity has yet to grow to love. 
Mainly dogfish
                                          Mainly dogfish

There's no reason our dayboat dogfish should be deemed unqualified for the average New Englanders' dinner table.  Try it our for yourself.  Ask for dogfish, and share with  others what is happening in our local waters.  Sometimes word of mouth can be the most powerful of tools in making a change.  There's no reason we shouldn't be eating one of the most abundant species in our waters here on the seacoast.  

Don't be afraid, I promise you will be pleasantly surprised, as were my friends when I served up these dogfish kebabs...

Dogfish Kebabs

Posted 5/7/2013 2:18pm by Joshua Wiersma.

There's plenty of fish in the sea,
and that means more than just Cod and Haddock...

Why not try something new?

Local Species our Community Supported Fishery is planning to offer starting this June:

Dab, Greysole, Yellowtail, Whiting, Hake, Monkfish, Pollock, Redfish, Dogfish Shark, Lobster, Scallops, and Shrimp





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