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How Large Is the Liver of a Shark?

Sharks tend to have very large livers that help them float and survive for extended periods without food. A shark’s liver is comprised mainly of fats and lipids. Depending on type, it can weigh up to 25% of the shark’s total weight and take up almost 90% of its internal body cavity.

More about sharks:

  • Several species of sharks are sensitive to magnetic fields. Scientists are working on ways to harness magnets to repel sharks from beaches. Scientists also theorize that a shark’s sensitivity to the Earth’s magnetic field may help it navigate the oceans.
  • Most shark attacks have happened in water less than six feet deep.
  • The shark skeleton is made of cartilage, not bone. In fact, there is not a single bone in a shark’s body.
Discussion Comments
By croydon — On Oct 16, 2013

@browncoat - II'm not a big fan of fishing for sharks, because so many of them are endangered now. But I'd definitely rather that people were eating the whole shark (although not the liver) rather than just the fin. Often people will just slice off the shark's fin and leave it to die, because they get more money for that one part.

And that's not including the people who hunt sharks because they think they are dangerous. There have actually been very few shark attacks recorded and most of the time sharks are harmless to people.

They are such a valuable part of the ecosystem, I would hate for them to become extinct just because we overreact to their presence. It's something we would deeply regret in the future.

By browncoat — On Oct 15, 2013

@Fa5t3r - Well, I don't know about the liver, but I do know that people eat shark meat probably more often than they realize. It often gets sold in shops as "flake" or some other benign label and will get put into fish fingers and other processed fish products as well.

I don't know why it is so much cheaper than normal kinds of fish, but maybe it's because it doesn't taste as nice and it would otherwise just be a byproduct of a normal catch.

But I imagine they wouldn't sell the liver if it really was that dangerous. I think they do mercury testing to make sure no one is going to get hurt from fish.

By Fa5t3r — On Oct 15, 2013

I've heard that you've got to be careful not to eat shark liver, because it can be extremely high in mercury and other dangerous substances. Sharks are the top of the food chain in the ocean, of course, so they end up concentrating all of the pollutants from the fish that they eat in their tissues.

And I imagine that the liver is one of the most toxic parts of the body, because it has so much fat in it and fat tends to store chemicals.

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