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My vegetarian heckles have been raised. According to the Guardian firms such as L’Oreal and Unilever have only just recently stopped using shark oil in their moisturisers and cosmetics.

And by shark oil, I mean oil made from the livers of sharks, which make up to a third of their weight.

Rebecca Greenberg, a marine scientist with Oceana and coordinator of its shark campaign, said the group was satisfied that real progress had been made. “Some of the biggest names in the cosmetics industry are recognising their corporate social responsibilities and choosing not to contribute to the extinction of these important animals,” she said.

Oceana said the market for squalene in cosmetics had driven fishing for sharks including gulper, kitefin and Portuguese dogfish, all of which live at depths between 1,300m and 1,500m. But international limits on deep-sea shark fishing by European fleets in late 2005 had made it far more expensive than alternatives.

Other products to look out for shark in include: soup, sandpaper and leather.

Photo by g-na, shared under a Creative Commons license