In Singapore and Malaysia, shark meat has long been a part of the diet of the population. Dog shark (Scoliodon sorrakowah) is reported to be of commercial importance (LKIM). Of shark products, the best known is undoubtedly shark fin. Another traditionally consumed product is shark lips, a glamorized name given to the skin taken from the upper lobe of the sharks tail.
In recent years, the steady increase in the price of shark fin has created an awareness of the value of the product. Consequently, the cartilaginous platelet, a waste product from shark fin processing, is now being sold as a soup base with a health food connotation. It is reported to be good for the relief of head, back and shoulder aches brought on by osteoporosis in the elderly.
Squalene and shark cartilage imported from Japan, New Zealand and the USA are sold in health food shops (Chen Hin Keong ed.)
In view of the fact that the quantity of shark products, other than fins, are either too small or too commercially unimportant to be reported by the Singaporean and Malaysian Statistics Department, the bulk of this report will concentrate on shark fin.
It is necessary to mention that during the time of this report the currencies of Malaysia and, to a lesser extent, that of Singapore, went through a very difficult period. The prices of shark fin are only indicative as, in addition to the huge fluctuations in exchange rates, traders are reluctant to disclose this information. The indicative exchange rate for conversion to US$ during this period would be around US$1=S$1.5, US$1=Rm3 and S$1=Rm2.