Thousands of Greenland sharks get caught and die in nest off Greenland each year, but their meat is toxic to humans and the carcasses are therefore thrown back into the sea.

greenland shark Sharks may be used as biofuel

Researchers at the Arctic Technology Centre (ARTEK) in Sisimiut in western Greenland now hope to find a way of turning the oily flesh of these enormous fishes into biogas for Eskimos.

The Greenland shark can reach a length of seven meters (23 feet) and weigh up to a tonne.

I think this is an alternative where we can use the thousands of tonnes of leftovers of products from the sea,

including those of the numerous sharks,” says Marianne Willemoes Joergensen of ARTEK’s branch at the Technical University of Denmark.

Joergensen, who is in charge of a pilot project based in the Uummannaq village in northwestern Greenland, says a mixture of shark meat, macro-algae and household wastewater could serve as biomass for biofuel production.

Biofuel is the best solution for this kind of organic waste, which can be used to produce electricity and heating with a carbon neutral method,” she explains.

According to estimates, biofuel from the sea could supply Uummannaq’s 2,450 inhabitants with 13 percent of their energy consumption.

But the biofuel project is not uncontroversial.

[It] is not a good idea, not at all“, says Danish WWF ocean mammal specialist Anne-Marie Bjerg who wants to see other sustainable energy projects undertaken instead.

We know very little about the Greenland shark, which lives in a limited geographic zone, the Arctic,” she said. “We are opposed to the commercial use of marine mammals*, such as the Greenland shark, which is not universal and whose population size is unknown.

AC Comment:

*The Greenland shark is not a mammal since it does not feed its young milk. Mammals are animals whose females are characterized by the possession of mammary glands. The Greenland shark does however give birth to live young. Just like many other sharks, it is an ovoviviparous species. Much remains unknown of the Greenland shark’s reproduction and life cycle.