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Video: Mysterious Run of Sharks, Rescue Attempt of Shark on Oregon Coast Fails

Published 08/18/2018 at 6:47 PM PDT - Updated 08/19/2018 at 2:07 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection Staff

Video, Mysterious Run of Sharks: Rescue Attempt of Small Shark on Oregon Coast Fails

(Seaside, Oregon) – A spate of stranded sharks is making waves all over the Oregon coast this week, as young salmon sharks keep washing up everywhere, from the north coast down through at least the Bandon area of the southern coast. (All photos and video Seaside Aquarium).

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In Cannon Beach, some have been reportedly trying to swim upstream in Ecola Creek, while the bodies of others simply lay around just about every beach.

They’ve been mistaken for baby Great White sharks, which is understandable as they do look much like a Great White. They are, in fact, salmon sharks, which are common to this coastline and don’t get nearly as big.

Near Gearhart, however, a live juvenile shark beached itself around Sunset Beach, and even though crew from the Seaside Aquarium attempted to rescue it and nurse it back to health it died a few hours later.

Seaside Aquarium education specialist Tiffany Boothe said this one was 3.5 feet long, and was found still struggling in the surf on Saturday morning. An Astoria man whose daughter works at the Seaside Aquarium discovered the creature and called it in.

“Attempts to return the shark to the ocean by taking the shark back into the surf failed and shark kept returning to shore,” Boothe said. “Once staff from the Seaside Aquarium arrived, they quickly worked to get the shark into a holding tank to transfer the shark to the Seaside Aquarium. The plan was to get the shark stable, if possible, and then get it to a bigger facility with larger tanks for rehab and possible release. However, sharks that beach themselves rarely survive the ordeal and the shark passed away a few hours after arriving at the Seaside Aquarium.”

Boothe and aquarium manager Keith Chandler said the Oregon coast gets a lot of these juvenile salmon sharks this time of year, and they all mysteriously simply strand themselves. No one knows why, except that it is known that sharks do this when they’re ill in some way and thus are disoriented.

In fact, they are strangely insistent on heading straight into the surf, a sure sign of some kind of severe disorientation. This case was also proof of that: those that were picking up the shark and trying to get it back into the sea only found the creature simply turned right around and headed straight for the beach again.

“The Aquarium often tries to collect those which have passed away,” Boothe said. “We use them for education, allowing people to watch the dissections, while we take tissue samples which are sent off to biologist studying this phenomena.”

Boothe said these are often mistaken for Great Whites for good reason.

“Though they do resemble Great Whites, and with only a couple small identification clues (the formation of their teeth and second caudal keel), it can be difficult to distinguish the two” Boothe said. Oregon Coast Lodgings in this area - Where to eat - Maps - Virtual Tours ------ More photos below:

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