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Hatfield Marine Science Center Features Live Oregon Coast Shark Event

Published 09/21/22 at 6:50 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Hatfield Marine Science Center Features Live Oregon Coast Shark Event

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(Newport, Oregon) – October's Science On Tap event in Newport will give you a closer glimpse into the world of sharks on the Oregon coast. It's a night of sharks, actually: which sometimes go by brooding nicknames like Denizens of the Deep, the Man in the Gray Suit, the Landlord, the Taxman or Leviathan. (Above: blue shark photo courtesy Big Fish Lab / OSU)

In Oregon coast waters and even on its beaches, sightings create a stir – more like a panic. These creatures are met with fear and apprehension. Yet in reality, said the Hatfield Marine Science Center, sharks are a critical part of the marine systems.

“Especially here in Oregon, where they help support vibrant fisheries and coastal food webs,” the Hatfield said. In that spirit, the Hatfield's Science on Tap series on October 5 goes hybrid – both in person and online, serving up a night of sharks, science and stories.

Dr. Taylor Chapple and members of his Big Fish Lab at Oregon State University will present this next Hatfield Science on Tap, happening that Wednesday at 6 p.m. They will explore the 16 species of sharks found off the Oregon coast and take a deep dive inside a shark. During the on-site shark dissection, overhead cameras will ensure everyone gets a front-row view - whether sitting in the back of the auditorium or at home.


Hatfield exterior (photo copyright Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

For those wanting to attend the live event in person, it happens at the Gladys Valley Marine Studies Building Auditorium at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, 2030 SE Marine Science Drive, Newport. A social hour with food and beverages for purchase is from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.

The whole thing is free, but for the online feature you'll need to look up the login details. See https://hmsc.oregonstate.edu/main/science-tap.

Sharks along the Oregon coast are plentiful, and in some places, like Silver Point near Cannon Beach they can even be more so. As one surfer told Oregon Coast Beach Connection once: “the food chain is big there.”

However, shark attacks in the waters are rare, with just a handful of bites over several decades. Those living in this region are not interested in humans, but sometimes mistakes happen when they “taste test” something they're thinking may be a seal or other form of food.

Among the most populous are broadnose sevengill sharks. They are found deceased and washed up on the shoreline here and on the Washington coast periodically.

Broadnose seven gill sharks are known to migrate from Alaska to California off Oregon’s coast and all the oceans of the world. They are predators that can be found in large concentrations. You can see them live at Oregon Coast Aquarium regularly.

Oregon Coast Aquarium's Jim Burke explained some of his experiences caring for them.

“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.”

Seaside Aquarium often tends to shark strandings on the beach, such as broadnose sevengills.

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Above: Great white shark photographed near Bandon, by US Coast Guard

Sharks at Oregon Coast Aquarium


Shark photographed at Pacific City, courtesy Tillamook County Sheriff's office


Swell sharks in Seaside Aquarium (courtesy Tiffany Boothe)

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