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N. Oregon Coast Crew Deals With Stranded Shark on S. Washington Coast – Alive Briefly / Video

Published 09/06/22 at 7:25 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

N. Oregon Coast Crew Deals With Stranded Shark on S. Washington Coast – Alive Briefly / Video

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(Long Beach, Washington) – Labor Day weekend on the south Washington coast proved to be a bit of a show for some folks, as the Long Beach Peninsula saw a large thresher shark show up on the beach. (All photos / video Seaside Aquarium's Tiffany Boothe)

As part of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network on the north Oregon coast and south Washington coast, Seaside Aquarium deals with these situations and responded on Saturday morning, after the call came the previous night.

Near Ocean Park, staff found the shark still alive – a true rarity for these kind of sightings. However, it died not long after they arrived.

This meant doing a necropsy right there on the beach, said the aquarium's Tiffany Boothe.

“With some much-needed help, volunteers and staff were able to recover the shark, which weighed anywhere from 300 to 365 pounds,” Boothe said.

It was a situation not dissimilar to August 18: a thresher shark that washed ashore also on the south Washington coast was too big to freeze, so they had to conduct an impromptu necropsy. For this one, the necropsy also started within a few hours, drawing quite a crowd to watch.

“We really wanted this to be a learning experience for people,” Boothe said. “It is not very often that we get to see these large sharks and anything we can learn or educate the public on is a great opportunity.”

The shark stayed available for viewing from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. For the necropsy, they wound up with an audience of 50 to 75 people – not bad for an impromptu show on the sands of the Washington coast.

“It was a great crowd,” Boothe said. “People were really interested and asked a lot of great questions. Most people were fascinated by the length of the shark’s tail, in which it is named after. The thresher shark uses its long tail to 'thrash' through schools of fish, stunning them, then swimming back through and eating the stunned fish.”

All this begs the question: why are these washing lately? They rarely show up on the Oregon coast sands or just north of the border, usually only once a year, if that.

“That is the million-dollar question and that is why it is important to be able to collect data and various tissue and organ samples,” Boothe said. “The one thing we were able to rule out was any fisheries interaction.”

More on Oregon coast thresher sharks. More photos below

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