Live and Dead Salmon Sharks Show Up on North Oregon Coast
(Seaside, Oregon) – Staff at the Seaside Aquarium saw a little action this week when a salmon shark washed up onshore near Seaside on Tuesday. (Shark photos by Seaside Aquarium)
The Aquarium's Tiffany Boothe said the salmon shark was 42 inches long and found at Sunset Beach – several miles north of the Oregon coast hotspot and resort town. The shark was deceased when it came up on the beach, but that hasn't always been the case recently.
“This is the fifth juvenile salmon shark to come ashore in this area in the last two months,” Boothe said. “Three of the sharks, including this one, were already dead when they washed ashore. The other two were found struggling in the surf and were placed back into deeper water and swam away.”
Boothe said this kind of animal stranding is a typical occurrence this time of year. She said a graduate student from Stanford University is looking in to why this is happening.
The shark has been sent to Stanford for further study.
These wash up fairly regularly along the Oregon coast in spots from Cannon Beach down to Brookings.
Salmon sharks are related to Mako sharks and Great Whites, and they are presumed to be only fish-eaters. But there’s a chance they’re not.
“There’s never been any documentation of them biting a human,” Boothe said.
Salmon sharks are constantly mistaken for for Great White sharks - the big ones that get the ill-founded reputation of the "Jaws" movie franchise. They look very similar to salmon sharks, and to the average person salmon sharks are almost always reported as a Great White sighting.
Even though he's armed with that knowledge about salmon sharks, that wouldn’t stop Aquarium manager Keith Chandler from fearing it in the water.
“If I saw those dorsal fins coming, I’d get out and wouldn’t take any chances,” he said. “They do follow the salmon, so I imagine they can live fairly close to shore.”
To find more Oregon coast lodging, including the Cannon Beach and Seaside area, see below. More photos of salmon sharks from previous strandings are featured below - all taken by Tiffany Boothe of the Aquarium.
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