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.
Unusually High Number
of Sharks Wash Up on N. Oregon Coast
|Shark carcass found last year by Seaside Aquarium (photo Tiffany
(Seaside, Oregon) – For reasons that can only be
guessed at, an unusual amount of dead sharks have been washing up on north
Oregon coast beaches in the last few weeks. Most have appeared in a stretch
that’s roughly 40 miles - from Rockaway Beach to Fort Stevens –
although one showed up on the southern Washington coast.
Staff at the Seaside
Aquarium have been either keeping track of the reports or taking the
carcasses in, although one appeared to be alive when it initially washed
Tiffany Boothe, education specialist at the aquarium, said
four salmon sharks and four soupfin sharks washed up in an approximate
four-week period, from July 22 to August 22.
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“It’s the most we’ve ever seen in such
a short period of time,” Boothe said. “Usually, when they
die, they sink to the bottom. But the dead ones have been washing up on
Why or how so many have been showing up on shore is a mystery,
but Boothe and others at the aquarium believe it probably has to do with
warmer waters this year bringing in more tuna. That, in turn, will attract
|Salmon shark found by aquarium
“These sharks are fish-eaters,” Boothe said.
“We’ve had warmer waters this year – warmer than usual.
I don’t know if it’s global warming or not, but it’s
probably just because we’ve had nothing but south winds, and the
south winds warm things up. The tuna are probably coming in because of
that. They’re about a mile offshore, but that brings in the fish-eaters.”
Boothe also thinks it’s possible the shark carcasses
are the result of fishermen accidentally snagging them. “They could
be by-catch,” she said. “They get caught in their nets, and
the fishermen throw them over. They don’t survive that because sharks
are really quite sensitive.”
first was a soupfin shark that was found was on July 22, somewhere between
Sunset Beach and the south jetty of the Columbia River.
|Salmon shark on north coast beach
Near the end of July, the much-publicized salmon shark
that washed up in Rockaway Beach was next. Boothe wasn’t totally
convinced that was a salmon shark, however. After seeing video footage
of it, she said it looked more like a Great White. “The snout looked
all wrong,” she said. “And it was really big. I’ve never
seen a big salmon shark in person, and I didn’t see this one in
person. So I can’t say for sure. But to me it looks more like it
was a Great White.”
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Cannon Beach video correspondent Dave Pastor took that
footage, which was aired all over Portland TV stations. Neither he nor
the aquarium know what happened to it after it washed up.
Another salmon shark washed up on Arch Cape on August 6,
apparently still alive for a small period of time. “It was about
four to five feet long, and they found it in a pool of blood,” Boothe
said. “It was alive when it was first reported, but it later disappeared.
We don’t know if someone took it or if it washed back into the ocean.”
On August 15, a soupfin washed up in Fort Stevens State
Park, just south of Astoria. On August 18, another dead soupfin showed
up on a beach somewhere north of Gearhart. Aquarium staff weren’t
sure as to the exact location as they never actually dealt with it themselves
and only recorded the report.
August 21 and 22 saw a different salmon shark on both days,
washing up at the Tolovana Beach area of Cannon Beach.
|Possible sightings of sharks in Rockaway Beach led to a posted warning
earlier this month, although this was unrelated to the dead sharks
On August 23, a soupfin shark drifted in around Beard’s
Hollow, on the Washington coast.
Three of the sharks have wound up in a freezer at the aquarium,
awaiting donation to local schools for science labs.
been really busy this summer, and these are not our top priority,”
Boothe said. “So we don’t always get out and collect them.”
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.
Boothe theorized the north Oregon coast could be experiencing
the same problem as central California’s coast, where lots of dead
sharks have shown up.
there have collected nearly a dozen dead juvenile salmon sharks in the
past month,” she said. “Stanford University and Long Marine
Lab at UC Santa Cruz have performed necropsies on the sharks they collected.
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.”
Boothe said soupfin sharks can be found in temperate
and subtropical seas, in the eastern Pacific: Canada to Baja. “They
are a highly migratory species with small schools migrating toward the
poles in the summer and then back toward the equator in the winter,”
she said. “Soupfins can be found in the surf or at depths over 1,700
feet. Feeding on a variety of fish, the soupfin sharks are not considered
a threat to humans. They are highly prized for their fins, which are the
main ingredient in shark fin soup.”
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Sands Condominium Motel, Lincoln City. Free, fresh baked
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171 S.W. Highway 101. 800-527-3925.
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City Vacation Homes
Something for everyone: smaller homes
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Rockaway Beach. All rooms are immaculate and have TV’s, VCR’s
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at Cannon Beach. Beautifully wooded natural setting at quiet south
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for Freaky, Creepy Mole Crabs on Oregon Coast Beaches The
little critters make the tideline bubble and feel really weird as they
run across your feet
Transformations of Oregon Coast Beaches Seasons change
and so do beaches, revealing different sides and a variety of eye-popping
Found on Oregon Beach May Be 80,000 Years Old - They
are the remnants of a forest apparently 80,000 years old, found at Hug
or Night Mysteries and Merriment on Oregon Coast It's
more than just nightlife that comes to life, but the beaches offer major
Coast Travel Site Goes Wireless Provides Lodging Reports
- Oregon Coast Beach Connection now has mobile lodging and dining listings,
along with weekly lodging availability reports
coast mileage chart & map
trips, suggested itineraries
Coast Lodging Specials
BeachConnection.net's 1,000 pages
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Things to Do
Beach, Oregon Lodging
Wheeler, Rockaway Beach Lodging
Beach Complete Guide
City Complete Guide
Oregon Complete Guide
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Where the Columbia
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lighthouse, upscale yet earthy, a huge monolith, fine eateries
& an art mecca
beaches, Nehalem and Wheeler's quirky beauty; laid back Rockaway
Barview, Bay City, Tillamook & an oceanfront ghost town
secret of the coast: Cape Meares, a lighthouse, Oceanside,
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A spouting horn
downtown, freaky hidden cliffs and whales, whales, whales
Time-tripping Nye Beach, a bustling
bayfront, marine science-central and two lighthouses
Constantly dramatic wave action, a mix
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A lighthouse, ancient bayfront and miles
and miles of fluffy dunes