“There are plenty of other things to eat in the ocean with a good conscience,” says Gimbar. “Leave sharks to Shark Week on TV. They’re awe-inspiring animals.”
Worldwide, wild sharks are listed on Seafood Watch’s “avoid” list, with the exception of thresher and shortfin mako species from California and Hawaii. Gimbar doesn’t even carry these varieties or serve them in the restaurant, since scientists have a difficult time establishing how sustainable these shark populations truly are. Gimbar also cautions against purchasing any meat simply labeled “mako,” as the longfin species is threatened.
That’s not to say you won’t find shark sold around Washington. Despite President Obama passing the Shark Conservation Act, which includes laws against “finning” (killing sharks solely for their fins), you can still order shark-fin soup at several local Chinese restaurants; the Animal Welfare Institute keeps a list of the offenders. Some have consequently take the dish off the menu, while others insist they’re using imitation versions.
Still hungry for the steak-y meat? Gimbar says to try sustainable varieties of sturgeon or swordfish instead.