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Oregon Coast Aquarium Adds Sharks, Rockfish Exhibit


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Secrets of the Season

Oregon Coast Aquarium Adds Sharks, Rockfish Exhibit

New sharks in their holding pen just before being released into Passages of the Deep

(Newport, Oregon) – It’s been a busy two weeks at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, with the famed facility adding a Rockfish exhibit, adding five sharks into its fold, and its youth volunteers winning awards.

Breathtaking high panoramic beach views from oceanfront rooms, spacious family suites & fully equipped cottages.  Known for gracious hospitality, the sparkling clean Sea Horse features a heated indoor pool, dramatic oceanfront spa, great whale watching, free deluxe continental breakfast, conference room, free casino shuttle & HBO.  Fireplaces, private decks and spas are available in select rooms.  Close to shops, golf, fishing & restaurants.  Pets are welcome in select rooms.  Senior discounts.  Kids 18 and under stay free in their parent's room.  Very attractive rates. In early July, the Oregon Coast Aquarium introduced five Notorynchus cepedianus, also known as broadnose sevengill sharks, to its Passages of the Deep exhibit. The complex process of bringing the sharks up to the top of the Passages exhibit and releasing them went without a hitch today as four Aquarium staff members carefully lifted each one into stretchers that held them in place while being transported. Each shark was weighed and tagged before it was moved to enable husbandry staff to monitor its growth and health. A towel was placed over their eyes during weighing and tagging to reduce stress.

“These sharks will improve our collection and enhance visitor experience,” said Aquarium Director of Animal Husbandry, Jim Burke. The sharks were quarantined for over two weeks before moving them into Passages of the Deep. Burke said he can't wait to see the reaction of people as they enter Passages and see twice as many sharks over six feet long as before, swimming all around them in the 200 foot tunnel.

Burke said the 750,000-gallon tank in the Passages of the Deep Open Sea exhibit is not very densely packed, so there is plenty of room for them. But how the four seven gill sharks already in the tank would receive them was not a certainty. “They do live in groups in the wild so we hoped there wouldn’t be any aggression. So far, so good. The most interesting part now will be observing the male to female interactions. Eventually, we hope to breed them.”

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The sharks were caught in three separate trips to Willapa Bay, Washington by Aquarium husbandry staff with help from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and two Willapa Bay fishermen.

The collection process was intense, according to Burke.

“It was a real adrenaline rush to handle five large sharks with extreme care and get them into their new home as quickly as possible,” he said. Burke and his staff drove to Willapa Bay, Washington with a 400-gallon transport tank.

They took two vessels out: one for catching the sharks and one for transporting them. “When we got a shark on the line we unclipped the leader and swam the shark into a stretcher that holds the shark making sure that its gills are always covered with water.” Burke explained that the stretcher is lifted up and into the primary transport box and brought to the secondary transport box which holds 400 gallons of water infused with pure oxygen. This reduces stress and relaxes the sharks. After a four and a half hour drive home the sharks were introduced to their 25,000-gallon holding tank that serves as their halfway house before going on exhibit.

Broadnose sevengill sharks are known to migrate from Alaska to California on our coast and all the oceans of the world. They are predators that can be found in large concentrations. To acclimate them to their new home, they were kept in a holding tank with visual marks on the sides. They are fed directly from a pole so husbandry staff can track their intake.

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“In the wild they eat seals, other sharks, other fish, anything they can get their teeth on,” said Burke. “We feed them many of the same things, including salmon, mackerel, herring, squid and sardines three times a week.”

Burke said although not much is know about their life span, it is believed to increase in captivity by a consistent food supply and removal of predators.

20 gorgeous homes sleep up to 18; doubled that with some side-by-side homes. Some pet friendly. Cottages to massive homes; new oceanfront to renovated historic beach houses. All over central coast w/ Lincoln City, Otter Rock, Boiler Bay and Nye Beach. Long list of features, including barbecues, large decks, antique furnishings, wood stoves, gas fireplaces, hardwood floors, Jacuzzis and hot tubs. Most have movies, music, books. Gift basket w/ goodies in eachThe sharks have been named by Aquarium husbandry staff; L.D. (named after an Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife staff member), Bull, Mugs, Slash (named after Guns & Roses guitarist) and Pongo is the spotted one. All of the sharks are available for adoption in the Aquarium’s Adopt-an-Animal program, which allows people to select and sponsor an animal with different levels of support. The proceeds help to pay for the feeding and care of the animal. Information is available on the website at www.aquarium.org .

A new exhibit opened at the Oregon Coast Aquarium this week - the culmination of over six months of work by six Oregon Coast Aquarium youth volunteers. “Saving the World One Rockfish at a Time” includes a mural which the students painted with Aquarium artist, Michael Cole, a tank with live baby rockfish, a power point presentation and an interactive display which allows visitors to age a rockfish by examining the otolith, or ear bone.

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The new exhibit, Saving the World One Rockfish at a Time, began as another project which the students presented at the National Summit on Oceans and Coasts in Washington D.C. last November. The original project, Rockfish Bycatch; An In Depth Study, tackled problems that include misidentification and barotrauma in rockfish.

Feed the seals! One of the oldest aquariums in the U.S. is here in Seaside, Oregon, right on the PromenadeEach of the students was presented with an award at Seafest June 23 by Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury for the project. “The ultimate goal of their project is to educate the public on the components of their issue and the steps that can be taken to help reduce unnecessary deaths of rockfish,” said Bradbury. “Please drop by the Oregon Coast Aquarium and learn more about their project.”

The Student Youth volunteers involved in this project include: Alice Anderson from Corvallis High School, Jenna Browning-Kamins from Philomath High School, Lauren Dimock from Alsea High School, Alexander Rose from Newport High School, Hayley Trivett from Newport High School and Erin Schmucker from Dallas High School.

“They did a great job developing and fine-tuning this project,” said Renee Rensmeyer, Aquarium Youth Volunteer Coordinator. “They are also talented artists; their mural is beautiful!” Rensmeyer said the project proposed some very well thought out solutions to eliminate rockfish bycatch.

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Students presented their action plan to senior Bush Administrative officials last November, including representatives from the White House, Federal Environmental agencies and leading ocean scientists. Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Jim Connaughton explained to the students what led him to his current position, “The single most thing that defines your future is passion.” Dr. Sylvia Earle, Ocean Explorer and National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence, encouraged the students saying, “You have power, you have a voice, you can make a difference. Your realization that you can make a difference is the key.”


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Last year the Hatfield Marine Science Center and the Oregon Coast Aquarium signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on the Coastal Ecosystem Learning Center. The co-partnership designation by Coastal America combines the resources of the two facilities. Coastal America and its network of Coastal Ecosystem Learning Centers (CELCs ) hosted the summit, a three day academic experience for 120 high school students and educators providing a unique combination of science and other disciplines.

“These are some of our nation’s top students who may be the future leaders responsible for managing our coasts and oceans,” said Virginia K. Tippie, Director of Coastal America. “These students have worked very hard to get here and we are pleased to be able to provide this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them to present their projects to top-level administrators and decision makers in Washington. The enthusiasm and commitment of the students is truly amazing.”

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is in South Beach, across the bay from Newport. (541) 867-FISH. www.aquarium.org.

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Tradewinds Motel, Rockaway Beach. All rooms are immaculate and have TV’s, VCR’s and in-room phones w/ data ports. Oceanfronts have queen bed, a double hide-a-bed, kitchen, cozy firelog fireplace and private deck. Both types sleep up to four people. Others are appointed for a two-person romantic getaway, yet still perfect for those on a budget. Elaborate oceanfront Jacuzzi suite has two bedrooms, kitchen, double hide-a-bed, fireplace and private deck, sleeping as many as six. For family reunions or large gatherings such as weddings, some rooms can connect to create two-room and three-room suites. Some rooms pet friendly. 523 N. Pacific St., Rockaway Beach. (503) 355-2112 - 1-800-824-0938. www.tradewinds-motel.com

Inn at Cannon Beach. Beautifully wooded natural setting at quiet south end of Cannon Beach. Great during winter storms with a new book by the fireplace – or when the sun is out for family fun and beach strolling. Handsome beach cottage-style architecture. Lush flowering gardens and naturalized courtyard pond. Warm, inviting guest rooms. Continental buffet breakfast. Warm Cookies. Family and Pet Friendly. Welcome gifts. Smoke-free. Complimentary Wireless Connectivity. Wine and book signing events. 800-321-6304 or 503-436-9085. Hemlock At Surfcrest, Cannon Beach, Oregon. www.atcannonbeach.com.

The Ocean Lodge. There will not be another property built like this in Cannon Beach in our lifetimes. Rare, premiere ocean front location; handsome, dramatic architecture and tasteful, fun (nostalgic) beach interiors. Overlooks Haystack Rock. 100 percent smoke free. Imaginative special occasion packages. Massive wood burning lobby fireplace. Library w/ fireplace, stocked with impressive book collection. Pet and family friendly. Lavish continental buffet breakfast. In-room fireplaces, mini-kitchens. Jacuzzi tubs in select rooms. DVD players, complimentary movies. Morning paper. Warm cookies. 888-777-4047. 503-436-2241. 2864 Pacific Street. Cannon Beach, Oregon. www.theoceanlodge.com


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