West Greenland Inuit caught shark to feed their dogs; shark livers served as lamp fuel and could be sold to the local trading company . The Nootka (Nuu-chah-nulth) were reported to have used a species of shark for its oil . Coastal cultures of Alaska and Northern British Columbia extracted oil from shark liver . Inuit of Angmagssalik, Greenland fed shark meat to their dogs and consumed it only in times of scarcity; they boiled it several times to remove toxins . Shark was used by the Tsimshian of northern British Columbia .
Archeological remains identifying human use found spiny dogfish from Oregon to Alaska . The Coast Salish, Indigenous Peoples of Puget Sound, Quileute, Coast Tsimshian, Nootka (Nuu-chah-nulth), Haida, Alaskan cultures, Sahtu, Dene of Fort Good Hope and Colville Lake, Micmac (Mi'kmaq) of Richibucto and Wampanoag are reported to have eaten spiny dogfish and/or its byproducts, notably its oil [3, 5-19].
Spiny dogfish were typically caught with hook and line. In early years, the Coast Tsimshian caught them with hooks; the mature ones were solely available in winter, the immature ones available all year . The Central and Northern Nootka caught spiny dogfish in late spring and summer  using hook and line [6, 7, 10, 14]. The Nootka of Vancouver Island used trolling hooks which were spruce root shanks attached to a wood, bone or iron point with the aid of nettle fibre rope at one end, and attached to kelp stem lines at the other . The Central and Northern Nootka used a sharp-angled cod hook or in the case of big ones, sealing harpoons “with one or two sealskin floats (of the type used for whaling) on the line” . The Nootka of Vancouver Island and Cape Flattery used a hook made of heavy hardwood so that the hook was able to sink in water .
The Central and Northern Nootka tribes baked and roasted dogfish. Before doing so, they cleaned it, severed the head, fins and tails and skinned the carcass with a sharp knife. Because skinning it was difficult, the fish was parboiled first to soften the skin. It was necessary to skin it because the skin had a rank ammonia and iodine taste. For barbecue purposes, the flesh was cubed and skewered on spits made of ironwood poles sharpened at one end. The tips of the spits were put on a single pole rack while the rest of the spit lay over the coals. The single pole rack was made using hardwood sapling poles, two of which were anchored in a V fashion in the ground, and the other two also anchored in a V fashion in the ground a few feet away. Another pole was placed horizontally on top of the two Vs. The flesh was roasted until golden brown .
The Central and Northern Nootka baked dogfish in “imus” (fires made in a pit or trench excavated from beach gravel). Rocks were added to the pit and a fire was started using cedar tinder. When the fire was well established, alder was added. The coals formed were laid out on the rocks to heat them and once the heat was intense, the coals and some of the hot rocks were laid to one side. The dogfish was wrapped in wet seaweed and leaves of the ironwood bush; the latter gave it a tasty, subtle flavor. The encased fish was placed on the remaining hot rocks and coals. More seaweed was used to cover it and the coals and hot rocks that had been previously set aside were placed on this layer of seaweed. Gravel was heaped over everything and the dogfish was baked for an hour and a half. To make dogfish chowder, the head was added to soup along with any vegetables on hand. Dried seaweed was usually added to thicken and salt it .
The Coast Tsimshian are reported to have eaten dogfish flesh only after the oil had been removed as the oil has a “nauseous” taste. The Coast Salish did not often eat dogfish flesh , but they occasionally stored the flesh for winter consumption preserving it as follows: the insides were removed and the space was filled with powdered, rotten fir bark, the fish was buried under more powdered, rotten fir and when needed, it was washed and barbecued .
The Coast Salish and the Coast Tsimshian rendered oil from dogfish livers and flesh [5, 16]. The Coast Salish rendered dogfish liver oil by placing the livers in a waterproof container of water, and adding hot stones until the water boiled, and the oil rose to the surface. The oil was skimmed from the top and placed in a seal stomach container . The Coast Salish also occasionally rendered oil from dogfish flesh in wood boxes or a cleaned-out canoe using hot stones for boiling. They boiled the fish until the oil rose to the top and skimmed the oil using ladles. After the oil had cooled, they stored it in sacs made of seal or sea lion stomachs . The Coast Tsimshian rendered dogfish liver oil by placing the livers in iron pots, which were allowed to simmer on a fire, or hot stones were added to the pots to cook the livers. While cooking, the oil that rose to the top was skimmed and placed in sacs/containers made of the stomachs and intestines of whales, fish or seals. They extracted oil from the flesh by first removing the liver, head and backbone from the carcass leaving only the flesh, which was then partially smoke-dried and then steamed on hot stones until well done. The flesh was then placed in small baskets made of soft cedar bark, and wrung until all the liquid was out. This liquid was then boiled, cooled and allowed to settle, after which the oil was skimmed off. Once the oil had been extracted, the flesh was rinsed in fresh water, wrung and eaten .
Other cultures that rendered oil from dogfish were the Central and Northern Nootka, Indigenous Peoples of Puget Sound, Nootka Aht, Native Amerindians of southern Alaska and Indigenous Peoples of northern British Columbia; the Native Amerindians of the southern coast of Alaska rendered oil from the liver [3, 10, 11, 15].
The Coast Salish used the oil in various ways. They mixed the oil with cow parsnip shoots, using the concoction on the scalp to prevent graying hair. They also mixed it with dried skunk cabbage flowers for use as a general hair tonic. The oil was used to soothe sore throats and to treat the inner and outer surfaces of canoes after hot rocks had burned them. In precontact times, the oil was traded with other coastal cultures . The Coast Tsimshian of northern British Columbia ate the oil, but preferred whale and seal oil due to the unpleasant taste of dogfish oil .
Dogfish oil was used for a variety of purposes including as a dip, as an ingredient in hair tonic and paint and as a trading item [3, 8, 10, 11, 15]. The Central and Northern Nootka, and the Native Amerindians of the southern coast of Alaska and the Indigenous Peoples of northern British Columbia used the oil as a dipping sauce, the latter group using it particularly for dried fish ” [3, 10]. The Coast Salish used dogfish oil to make a hair tonic made of roasted, pounded parsnip roots mixed with oil which was said to “make your hair long”  and prevent graying . They also mixed dogfish oil with dried skunk cabbage flowers for use as a general hair tonic. The oil was used to soothe sore throats and to treat the inner and outer surfaces of canoes after hot rocks had burned them. In precontact times, the oil was traded with other coastal cultures . The Puget Sound Indigenous Peoples consumed the oil, used it to paint, and sold it, and the Nootka Aht used it to barter [11, 15].
The Central and Northern Nootka did not fear regular sized dogfish, but were terrified of large ones that they deemed “supernatural” .
East Greenland Inuit consumed Greenland shark in the winter after a complex boiling procedure .
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