180 miles of Oregon coast travel: Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita,
Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City,
Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Waldport, Yachats & Florence.
Salmon Shark Washes Up on N. Oregon Coast
|The baby salmon shark that washed up near Seaside Friday
had been picked at by scavenger birds (photo Seaside Aquarium).
(Seaside, Oregon) - It's been a slow summer for oddball
things washing up on the beach, unlike last summer’s unusual spate
of baby sharks.
But one salmon shark carcass did land on the north Oregon
coast Friday morning - the first in about a year, according to Seaside
Aquarium. Normally, they get about two such carcasses each year, usually
in the summer.
"A salmon shark washed ashore between Delray Beach
and Sunset Beach today," said Tiffany Boothe, education specialist
for the Seaside Aquarium.
"The shark was just over two feet, which means that it was a pup
- or baby. This is the first salmon shark we've seen this year. On average
we see one or two of these pup/juveniles a year."
|A salmon shark that washed up last year (photo Seaside Aquarium)
Aquarium manager Keith Chandler said staff retrieved the
body and put it in a freezer, just in case some agency or school would
want it for scientific study.
The shark carcass appeared to already be rather hollowed
out by predators. “The birds had been really working on it,”
Last year was a banner year - or at least a highly unusual
one - where dozens of such baby sharks hit the north and central coast.
Meanwhile, the California coast experienced a huge run on them as well.
Just like those in Oregon, they were mostly pups.
|Seaside Aquarium staff note the teeth and the visual similarities
to a Great White
A couple washed up still alive in the summer of ’07.
Not all the sharks were salmon sharks.
Necropsies performed on the California sharks showed many
of the specimens had a particular brain virus.
University and Long Marine Lab at UC Santa Cruz performed necropsies on
the sharks they collected,” Boothe said. “Their findings were
puzzling. All of the sharks had a brain infection caused by a bacterial
disease called encephalitis, though they don’t know the source of
the bacteria. They’re not sure if they caught it somehow or the
bacteria was already inherent in their systems.”
|Del Ray Beach, near Seaside
The Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport dealt with
last year’s mysterious run of dead sharks in the central coast area,
while Seaside Aquarium dealt with those from the Washington border down
to about Rockaway Beach. It is unknown how many were found in lower Tillamook
County, such as in the areas of Pacific City, Oceanside and Garibaldi,
and no data was available for anything south of Yachats down to the Oregon/California
“Last year we picked up and recovered eight salmon
sharks,” Boothe said. “Along with the Astoria High School’s
salmon biology class we preformed a necropsy on them and took various
tissue samples for scientists involved in studying the behaviors of salmon
|One of last year's run of dead salmon sharks on the central coast
(photo Hatfield Marine Science Center)
Boothe said 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,” she said.
Neither has there ever been documentation of a live
salmon shark being seen and then mistaken for a Great White. But that
wouldn’t stop 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.”
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Coast Best of Awards for the Year And the winners
are: best of Oregon coast restaurants, lodgings, science, odd events
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