You’ve probably heard the warnings before about eating too much fish.
While occasional consumption can have tremendous health benefits, eating
too much can actually lead to mercury poisoning. Meanwhile, other fish
are venomous and dangerous to eat unless prepared properly. However, did
you know there’s actually a type of fish that can get you drunk?
The Greenland Shark is a fairly unknown species of sea life that lives
primarily in the cold waters of the northern Atlantic and Arctic Oceans,
including the east cost of Canada, the west coast of northern Europe and
Scandinavia, and most of the coast of Greenland. These fascinating creatures
are primarily known for having the longest known lifespan of all vertebrate
creatures, living an astonishing 400 to 500 years or so. In fact, experts
worry about controlling their population since they don’t reach
a breeding age until they’re close to about 120 years old, which
could make any repopulation efforts a long-term effort.
But what makes this fish truly fascinating is its (literally) intoxicating
flesh. Because these sharks tend to live at extreme depth of the ocean
(as far down as more than a mile below the sea surface), their flesh has
a high concentration of a chemical known as trimethylamine N-oxide (or
TMAO for short). When this meat is consumed raw or without any pre-treatment,
TMAO can be toxic and simulate effects similar to extreme drunkenness.
In the past, sled dogs who have eaten this meat have been unable to stand
up because of the effects, which can last for as long as a few days.
However, it’s possible to eat this meat with lots of pre-treatment
and a long, slow cooking process. First, the flesh must be boiled in several
changes of water or dried for several months. In Iceland, the meat is
often buried in boreal ground for up to two months, which presses this
toxic chemical out of the meat. Once the burying stage is completed, the
meat is then hung up and dried for several more months before being cooked
and served. In fact, Greenland Shark meat is known as a delicacy in this
Northern European country.
Unlike many other breeds of shark, which are protected as threatened or
endangered species, this breed’s ability to live deep in the frigid
waters of the northern Atlantic has protected them fairly well. That being
said, bringing the population back to a more stable level could take a
long, long time.
While we can’t necessarily help you put a Greenland Shark in your
home or commercial aquarium, our Los Angeles tropical fish experts can
help you choose a more suitable shark species to populate your tank with
a unique and eye-catching highlight.
Call Living Art Aquatic Design, Inc. today at (310) 626-1448 and start building the tank of your dreams!