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Shark cartilage naturally smells and tastes fishy

This entry is your basic — if it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck story. During the 23 years that we have been producing shark cartilage, we have had customers complain or at a minimum question why our shark cartilage smells and tastes fishy. Recently we received this letter from Marcia G.:

Thank you for our recent order. Just inquiring of the shark cartilage powder, and if the extremely strong, pungent odor is normal…almost as if it may have gone bad. I am taking it everyday, but, just wanted to check to be sure.  Thank you very kindly.

Cleaning shark cartilage

Cleaning the meat off the cartilage in Seagate’s factory

Seagate answered: Hello Marcia,

We have been making shark cartilage continually since 1993. Real shark cartilage has a very strong fishy taste and smell. It has always been this way  This is despite the freeze-drying process which is a very gentle method of drying. Inside view of freeze-dryer

Seagate rotary freeze-dryer

When we had many other competitors back in the 90’s making this product (or actually just selling it under their label and buying the powder from overseas distributors), most of their shark cartilage product had little or no smell or taste …. almost like eating talcum powder. At first we were criticized for having a fishy smelling/fishy tasting product. However, we took lab samples of most of those major brands in the industry between 1995-98 and found that most of them contained very little shark cartilage. They were cutting their product with fillers. We ended up in Federal Court against one company called Lane Labs who filed for damages against us for revealing their filler operation (you may remember Dr. Lane’s book – Sharks Don’t Get Cancer).  We went on to prove that they were cutting their product with other powders.  Their product at that time had a uniquely neutral smell.

We do not add any chemicals or fillers in Seagate Shark Cartilage. It is 100% pure. We tell people that they need to keep their noses out of the bottle. That strong fishy smell is the real smell of uncut shark cartilage powder. It is not an attractive smell nor does it taste good. If you are using the powder in a drink, we suggest mixing it with tomato or V-8 or orange juice to mask the smell and taste …. and then drink it quickly without trying to taste it.

Thank you
Seagate Customer Service

Seagate has been producing shark cartilage since 1993. In the year 2000, we withdrew from the shark fishing part of the business. Along the coast of Baja California where we used to fish, sharks are still a very abundant species. We just chose to discontinue shark operations. The minor amount of shark cartilage that we use is gathered at fish cutting businesses in our town of Ensenada that prepare food for sale in fish markets and save the cartilage for us.

The lesson here is that if the shark cartilage that you purchased does not smell very fishy nor taste fishy, it likely was cut with fillers and is not real.

Sometimes I go diving in search of sharks for photography … not for catching them.  This unusual specimen happened to swim in front of my camera.  While it does not look exactly like a shark, I can promise you that it can behave like one with only minor provocation.Unknow species passing by                                                                    Unknown species of aggresive shark


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