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During the World War the Government attempted to create a
market for canned dogfish. It was put in Boston and named "Grayfish"
but the project failed because of poor canning methods. Dogfish, when
properly cooked, have a taste similar to lobster. They are still sold as
grayfish in seaport towns and are reputed to be quite popular in England
where they are also known as spurdog. (2 p. 132)
Other sharks, and there are over 50 species in the "seven seas,"
were long considered worthless because no use for them had been found
except by the Chinese who, from earliest times, used shark fins for
making soup. Later, shark liver oil came to be used for many industrial
and therapeutic purposes. (2 p. 277)
For many centuries shark hides, in an untanned condition known as
shagreen, had a limited use. It was too rough for ordinary purposes to
which leather was put and its demand was limited to pocket-books, grips
for swords, and as a "sandpaper" for "holy-stoning" ship decks. (2 p. 273)
The leather is practically indestructible having an average tensile
strength of 5,800 pounds to the square inch while choice sections may
test as high as 8,000 pounds. Naturally, such a product attracted some
study and finally, during the World War, a European promoter came to
this country to organize a company for the production of leather from
sharks. Sufficient experimental work had not been done and the project
fell through. (2 p. 278-289)