HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) - Strict catch limits are making it difficult for fishermen to make money. But dogfish may be helping their bottom line.
Dogfish is a spiny fish that looks much like a sandshark. For some fish eaters, the name is not appetizing.
"It conjures kind of a creepy image, but you know. Would you ever try it? I'm not sure," said Emma Cohen of Northampton.
But depleted groundfish stocks are making dogfish more available. Last week, industry groups asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to buy more dogfish; as fishermen continue to struggle to catch popular fish like haddock and cod. Zoe's Fish House Owner Jim Sands says dogfish is very popular in Europe.
"We're just catching on now. It's kind of caught as a bi-product or a bi-catch of the larger fish industry like haddock and cod," said Sands inside his Hadley restaurant.
However in Europe it's called rock salmon. "I lived in England for several years and I was a regular customer at my local fish and chips shop. And they had rock salmon on their menu. [It's] very enjoyable, so give it a try," said Brad Fox of Northampton.
Sands says the fish is of low-value and abundant; mainly used for fish and chips, fish oil or fish imitation products. He says much like catfish, its tough to sell in the states because of its name. Regulators recently enacted drastic limits on what fishermen can catch and its cutting supply when there's a high demand.
"Commercial fishermen are running out of product. There's so many dogfish out there, they are trying to find a market for it. It's an educational process of the American consumer," said Sands on Monday.
Regulations will allow fishermen to catch up to 24 million pounds of dogfish this year; compared to 3.24 million pounds of cod.