fish and chips


For those who like to catch and eat their own fish, this article will give you even more reason to want to do so.

Whether anyone likes to admit it or not, when ordering fish and chips in Australia, it is more than likely that you are actually getting shark instead of fish. If you have seen a sign that says flake, that means you are definitely getting shark.

The term ‘flake’ is generally used to describe all types of shark flesh.


In Australia, it is very hard to know what you are getting because there is no legislation that requires restaurants or fishmongers to label cooked fish. Without having a look underneath the batter of your fish, it is pretty much impossible to know what you are eating.

Even if you do take a look, how are you going to know anyway?

You could be eating an endangered species of shark without even knowing.

It is an unfortunate reality that threatened species of shark and caught and sold in Australia. Many shark are not actually targeted by fishing boats but do end up in the catch. The shark is then sold on as by-catch. Even when shark is imported, we don’t know what type of shark it is because the trade code only describes the flesh as ‘Shark’.


The only way to get a better idea of what you are getting is by asking about it. You need to ask the restaurant or fishmonger what type of fish is in your fish and chips. The most sustainable fish that also taste great for fish and chips are Whiting and Flathead.

I don’t know about you, I want to know what I am eating. I have also seen that sign ‘flake’ for years and assumed it was a species of fish until I decided to investigate.

I have to admit I did feel quite stupid assuming it was a type of fish. I mean, it doesn’t say ‘shark’ does it now?

It’s not that I am against eating shark but I do want to know what type of shark I am eating. I don’t want to be eating shark that is a threatened species.

Furthermore, the more I investigated the more I started to realise I was assuming that all fish I was eating in Australia was caught in Australia. This could not be further from the truth. Australia actually imports around 70% of the fish we eat, according to Greenpeace. That means that there is way more chance I am eating imported fish or shark any time I eat anything unlabelled from a fish and chip shop.


Did you know that ‘flake’ is really ‘shark’ or is this just me? Share your thoughts through the comments section below.

Jane F
Jane F

Jane loves camping, hiking and anything to do with the outdoors. She might love glamping but she will do it all.