|From Pier Fishing In California, 2nd Ed. —
Although some people feel that sharks should no longer be used for food (for a variety of reasons), many others continue to catch and eat these primitive fish.
If you do eat them, you need to treat them differently than most fish.
Sharks, rays and skates should always be cleaned, or at least gutted and bled, soon after capture. Each of these species contains urea in their blood, flesh, and skin to help them maintain the proper salt balance in their bodies. It's good for them, but bad for us. Unless bled quickly the urea will cause the carcass to have an ammonia smell to it and cause the flesh to have an off taste.
This urea-induced taste can be neutralized by soaking the fillets in acidulated water (mild vinegar and water or lemon juice and water) for a few hours.
It can be virtually prevented however by simply bleeding the fish as soon as it is landed or, even better, by cleaning the fish and icing it down upon capture.
Since these sharks and rays are too large to hang off a pier on a stringer, and since they are too large to place whole in a small cooler, I try to clean and fillet them as soon as possible. The next best solution would be to bleed, gut, and then keep them in a moist gunnysack. To bleed, cut the tail off, cut down to the backbone at the tail end, or cut the gills.
If not immediately cleaned, make sure you soak them for a few hours or overnight in the acidulated water. In addition, I have found that the flesh of these fish is improved if kept chilled one or two days (no more) in the refrigerator — even if they were cleaned immediately.
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