The basking shark is hunted throughout much of its range for its oil-rich liver. The livers of these sharks, which can account for up to 25 percent of their body weight, are worth a sizeable sum of money.
There might be shark in your sunscreen
Oil derived from shark livers is a common ingredient in cosmetics, and the demand for it could be putting deep-sea sharks in peril.
Millions of rare, deep-sea sharks are killed each year to support a multimillion-dollar industry—but which one might surprise you.
In remote regions around the world, fishermen pull sharks out of the deep and harvest their livers. Shark livers contain an oil, known as squalene, that’s widespread in sunscreen, lipstick, foundation, lotion, and many other cosmetics.
Although shark-sourced squalene can be found in other types of consumer goods, such as vitamin supplements and vaccines, as much as 90 percent of shark squalene produced is sold to cosmetic producers, according to a 2012 report published the French ocean conservation nonprofit BLOOM.
In response to heightened public concern for shark conservation, many corporations in the western world have made the