Are Dogfish Good To Eat? You’d Be Surprised!

Dogfish is a type of small shark that is commonly found in the Atlantic Ocean, and often caught by coastal anglers.

Mosh fishermen lament this small species of fish and get annoyed when they’re caught. Dogfish are not known for their strong fighting or sportfish qualities…but what about as a food source?

Are dogfish good to eat? And if so, how are they best prepared?

I think you will be surprised at just how delicious these overlooked fish can be!

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Are Dogfish Good To Eat?

Unlike other species of shark, which can be very firm and somewhat fishy tasting, Dogfish meat is actually white and flaky, and it has a mild flavor. It is considered good table fair and is very popular as an appetizer in places like New England and Spain.

The small size of dogfish and their long slender body shape yield thin strips of white meat, that is much softer than the thick cartilage of bigger species of sharks.

So, the answer is yes, Dogfish is very good to eat and most anglers don’t even realize it!

Are Dogfish Good To Eat?

Why The Poor Reputation?

One of the reasons why dogfish is not as popular as other fish species is that it has a reputation for being difficult to prepare. They have skin (not scales), and a cartilage structure

However, with the right cooking techniques, dogfish can be delicious. It is often available as fillets, and it can be grilled, baked, or fried.

Some species of dogfish are overfished, and it is important to choose dogfish that has been caught using sustainable fishing methods.

What Does Dogfish Taste Like?

In 2022, I visited the Andalusia region of Spain on a vacation and tried dogfish for the very first time. It is a popular tapas dish and is locally referred to as Cazon en Adobo.

The dogfish dish I had was small fried bites, and the taste was very light with hints of salt and lemon. It did not taste fishy at all, in fact, it tasted very fresh. Perhaps that was how it was cooked, but it had some hints of citrus and a very soft texture.

Cazon en Adobo (Dogfish)

Types of Dogfish

There are actually 119 species of dogfish sharks, but the most commonly eaten and caught species are the Spiny Dogfish (Squalus acanthias) and the Smooth Dogfish (Mustelus canis).

Both species are fished commercially, and the harvest and catch varies by region.

In the United States, The Spiny Dogfish is very common along the coast of California, Oregon, and Washington, where it is commercially caught using bottom trawlers. It is available in restaurants and fish markets.

How To Cook Dogfish

As with any fish, there are many different ways to cook it and your personal preference may vary.


Before cooking dogfish, it is important to properly prepare it. First, rinse the fish under cold water and pat it dry with paper towels.

Next, remove the skin and cut the fish into desired portions. Some people prefer to remove the bones, but this is not necessary.

To enhance the flavor, marinating the fish for a few hours before cooking is recommended. A simple marinade can be made by mixing olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and herbs such as thyme or rosemary.

Some folks like to soak their fillets in buttermilk for 20-30 mins to reduce the fishy taste caused by Urea.

Dogfish can be cooked using a variety of methods, including baking, frying, grilling, and poaching. Here are a few popular cooking methods:

  • Baked Dogfish: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the dogfish in a baking dish and add your desired seasonings and vegetables. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through.
  • Fried Dogfish: Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Dip the dogfish in a beaten egg and then coat it in breadcrumbs. Fry the fish for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
  • Grilled Dogfish: Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Brush the dogfish with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the fish for 5-7 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.
  • Poached Dogfish: Bring a pot of water to a simmer and add herbs, lemon, and garlic. Place the dogfish in the pot and poach for 8-10 minutes, or until cooked through.

Dogfish can be served with a variety of accompaniments such as salsa, roasted vegetables, or a salad.

Is It Safe To Eat Dogfish?

Dogfish is generally safe to eat, but it is important to be aware of the potential risks associated with consuming this type of fish.

Mercury Levels

One concern is the level of mercury found in dogfish. Mercury is a toxic substance that can accumulate in the bodies of fish, including dogfish.

To reduce your exposure to mercury, choose smaller dogfish that are less likely to contain high levels of the toxin.

Sustainability of Dogfish Fishing

The good news is that dogfish is considered a sustainable seafood choice, according to organizations such as Seafood Watch.

This is because dogfish populations are currently healthy and well-managed, with strict regulations in place to prevent overfishing.

In the United States, dogfish fishing is regulated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries.

Basket of Dogfish

The agency sets quotas for dogfish catches each year, based on scientific assessments of the population. These quotas are designed to ensure that dogfish populations remain healthy and sustainable for the long term.

To receive certification, a fishery must meet strict criteria for environmental sustainability, as well as social and economic responsibility.

Overall, dogfish is a good choice for those who are concerned about the sustainability of their seafood choices. However, it is important to note that not all dogfish fisheries are created equal.

Consumers should look for dogfish that have been certified as sustainable by organizations such as Seafood Watch, and should also consider the fishing practices used by the fishery.

Final Thoughts

Although eating sharks can be somewhat controversial, dogfish are the exception. These small fish are not only tasty, but abundant and properly managed.

So the next time you catch a dogfish while fishing, or you want to try something new from the fishmonger, bread up a few dogfish fillets and throw them in the fryer for a tasty treat!

See Also: Are Stingrays Good to Eat?

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