For Immediate Release

Joanna Nasar McWilliams
Communications Director
Turtle Island Restoration Network
Cell: (415) 488-7711

Turtle Island Restoration Network Urges People to Not Eat Shark Meat or Fins

Olema, Calif. (August 31, 2016) –  A new study by scientists from the University of Miami has found high concentrations of toxins linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease in the fins and muscles of 10 species of sharks. This latest research combined with data on high levels of mercury in shark meat and fins is adding to a growing body of evidence that eating shark poses serious human health risks. Turtle Island Restoration Network ( and leading shark conservationists are calling on consumers to not eat shark for their health and for ecological reasons.

“The case against eating shark meat continues to grow,” said Randall Arauz, International Program Director for Turtle Island Restoration Network, commenting on the study. “Why would you risk your health when safer choices exist? The message is simple: don’t eat shark.”

The study found high concentrations of mercury and β-N-methylamino-l-alanine (BMAA), a ubiquitous cyanobacterial toxin linked to neurodegenerative diseases. Studies have linked BMAA to Alzheimer’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The study published in the scientific journal Toxins can be found here:

Arauz, a 2010 Goldman Environmental Prize winner for his work to protect sharks, will be in South Africa in September at an international conservation conference urging nations to increase protections for a variety of sharks including silky sharks that are being harvested in the waters off his home country of Costa Rica.

Silky shark numbers in the Central Pacific declined about 90 percent from the 1950s to the 1990s. “We are witnessing an extinction trajectory. Not only do we need to stop the shark fin trade in Asia, but we also need to convince people in Central American countries to stop eating sharks, not only for the animals themselves but also to protect their families,” explained Randall Arauz.

Turtle Island is advocating for nations to support listing silky sharks, under Appendix II of CITES (Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). If silky sharks gain this conservation status at the upcoming September meeting, countries will be required to take concrete action to reverse the negative population trend and begin protecting this shark species.

The study published in the scientific journal Toxins can be found here:


Turtle Island Restoration Network works to mobilize people and communities around the world to protect marine wildlife, the oceans and the inland waterways that sustain them. Join us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. SeaTurtles.Org