Dogfish oil was considered "quite superior to whale oil" for lighting purposes, and when properly refined, it was "second only to sperm oil" (Swan, 1870).
Dogfish oil was used extensively in the tanning industry for the currying of leather.
The Indian tribes of the area had been using dogfish oil and skin for centuries.
Gedosch (1968:100), wrote an interesting history of the dogfish oil industry in the Washington Territory and stated that "production and trade in dogfish oil was common to the Makah of Cape Flattery, the Layouts, Intimates, the Notches of British Columbia, the tribes inhabiting the lands fronting on Puget Sound, and, to a lesser extent, those living on the coast .
Thus, the lumber industry lent new impetus to the local dogfish oil production, and by the late 1800's and the early 1900's there was an active fishery for Spiny Dogfish in the Canadian Pacific Northwest (Ketchen, 1986).
By the mid 1880's, coal oil and petroleum products appeared in the market, and they were cheaper than dogfish oil by 5-10 cents per gallon (Gedosch, 1968).