Several sharks are fished for human consumption since 4th Century, such as Mako shark and Thresher shark. Shark meat is popular in Asia, where it is often consumed dried, smoked, or salted. Shark meat is consumed regularly in Japan, India, Sri Lanka, areas of Africa and Mexico. Popularity of shark meat has increased in Western countries.
In Eastern Africa and islands in the Indian Ocean, shark meat has been traded and has been a significant source of protein for centuries. Shark meat is common and popular in Asia. Shark meat is typically consumed in prepared forms in Japan, such as in prepared fish sausage, surimi, fish paste, fish balls, and other products.
Shark meat is popular in Australia, where it is known as flake. Flake is sourced primarily from gummy shark, a small, bottom-feeding species abundant along the east coast of Australia. Flake can be purchased as a ready-made meal from most Australian fish and chip shops, usually in the form of battered or grilled fillets.
Per the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), European countries are major markets for shark meat. Pickled dogfish is popular food in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and other northern European countries. The meat is typically processed and consumed in steaks and fillets. In Germany, though, a preference exists for backs, belly, and smoked belly flaps, which are referred to as Schillerlocken. Per the FAO, Italy led globally in the importation of shark meat in 1999, with France and Spain following. In 1999, France imported the second-largest amount of shark meat on a global level.
In Iceland, hákarl is a national dish prepared using Greenland shark or sleeper shark. The shark meat is buried and fermented to cure it, and then hung to dry for several months.