Why Dogfish Will Be Man’s New Best Friend
This week, we’re introducing dogfish to the menu. Sea to Table’s Co-Founder Sean Dimin shares why it’s such a great alternative to more widely consumed seafood.
At Plated, we’re proud to partner with family-run business Sea to Table to connect us to the local fishermen who supply us with sustainably sourced, domestic fish. This week, we’ve worked together to introduce dogfish to the menu, which will be featured in the Blackened Fish Sandwiches with Avocado Mash and Creamy Aioli (see photo below). That’s right, dogfish isn’t just a craft beer—it’s also an underutilized species that’s listed as certified sustainable seafood from the Marine Stewardship Council.
Recently Sea to Table’s Co-Founder Sean Dimin was kind enough to chat with us to share what makes dogfish such a great alternative to more widely consumed seafood.
Plated: Why should we be eating dogfish?
Sean Dimin: As Americans, we need to broaden our diet and not consistently stick to the same fish like cod, salmon, tuna, and whitefish. Dogfish is an abundant species being caught by fishermen from Cape Cod down to the coast of Virginia, and it’s widely available, whereas cod is often overfished. Eating dogfish will help allow us to protect overfished species like cod, and as an added bonus, by diversifying our dining options, our culinary experience becomes more interesting.
Plated: Why hasn’t it been widely eaten before?
SD: Dogfish has been a well kept secret—it’s been shipped to the French market and the UK, mainly to be used in fish and chips. While cod has experienced overfishing, dogfish has been an excellent substitute for the newspaper laden meals that our neighbors across the pond eat.
Plated: Why is it called dogfish?
SD: It’s named dogfish since the fish travel in packs just like dogs, as it’s key to their eating habits.
Plated: What type of dogfish are people consuming, and what is story behind it?
SD: Spiny dogfish are what people are catching and consuming—they’re a small coastal shark that tends to be shorter lived than larger sharks like mako or great whites. While the species experienced overfishing in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, regulations were put into effect and the population rebounded, which coincided with the time that the cod population declined. Since dogfish have a long gestation period and bear live young, they are susceptible to overfishing, but they’re currently a vast resource. Up to 50 million pounds of dogfish are allowed to be harvested every year, but right now we’re only sourcing about 25 million.
Plated: What does dogfish taste like?
SD: It’s a mild, white fish with a large flake, which makes it a nice substitute for cod. It retains some of the flavor of what it eats, which includes crustaceans and smaller fish. It’s hardy and has a large enough flake that you can grill, fry, or bake it.
Plated: Why is it so abundant compared to other fish?
SD: It’s an underutilized and underloved species. Nobody has paid a lot of attention to this fish, so there’s a lot out there. Without apex predators such as cod competing for the same food sources, dogfish are doing well.
Plated: How does promoting dogfish relate back to Sea to Table’s mission?
SD: We work with sustainable and traceable fisheries around the country to find better markets for their catch. If we can get more people to diversify their diets and recognize more seafood options out there, we’re going to provide better value back to our fishermen, and help consumers enthusiastically embrace new types of fish.