A shark die-off in San Francisco Bay is being blamed on a parasite in the water. Bay currents are pushing the carcasses ashore at Crown Beach.
So far this year, about 100 leopard sharks have washed up onto beaches around the area, not just in Alameda.
The deaths are blamed on a protozoan parasite that gets into the sharks brains, James C. Frank, Supervising Naturalist for the East Bay Regional Park District told KTVU. If you come across a shark that is struggling, researchers say it is too late to be saved.
This die-off has been happening annually. In 2017, thousands of sharks were killed by the parasite.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is trying to get to the bottom of the problem.
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Dozens of spiny dogfish sharks washed up on beaches along the Jersey Shore last weekend.
And while it’s still not clear what caused the deaths, officials believe it most likely was a natural occurrence.
Conservation officers saw roughly 60 decayed dogfish during their patrols in Atlantic County, according to the state Division of Fish and Wildlife. Those sharks were found from Brigantine to Longport.
Others were found as far north as Long Beach Island in Ocean County, state conservation officer Jason Snellbaker told NBC10.
“Most of the fish were decomposed and decayed so those fish were out probably at sea for a while,” Snellbaker said.
Some theories have arisen, but nothing has been proven. One theory is that the dogfish may have gotten caught on a salt marsh in a back bay during an extreme high tide followed by an outgoing tide, dying either there or in a tidal pool. It’s also possible another high tide carried the dogfish to sea, with strong winds pushing them onto the beach.
Another theory is that a sudden, extreme change in water temperature could have stunned the sharks — with fatal consequences.
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Picture: Hennie Otto
The bodies of 14 bronze whaler sharks were discovered near Gansbaai earlier this month.
The sharks are listed as near threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature list, because they are being targeted in commercial and recreational fishing for their meat.
Bronze whaler sharks are also often spotted during shark-cage diving in the small town. Great white sharks are becoming rare sights during cage diving because of environmental factors.
The carcasses of 13 bronze whaler sharks were discovered washed up on a beach near Gansbaai on March 5.
Another shark carcass was found between Kammabaai and Voëlklip.
Natalia Drobniewska, the operations manager at the SA Shark Conservancy, said one of the sharks was pregnant.
Sharks washing up on the beach is not a common phenomenon.
Georgina Pendell, a marine biologist for the White Sharks Project, said in the year she worked for the organisation, she didn’t hear of any similar cases.
It is still unclear what led to the sharks being washed up.
“There are a lot of possible reasons for the sharks to wash up: being hit by a boat, getting stuck in fishing nets and then dying, getting caught on long lines and then discarded back in the ocean, natural causes and sickness,” Drobniewska said.
Pendell said there was a trawler near to where the sharks were found.
“They might have gotten tangled in the nets, died and then got washed on to the beach,” Pendell said.
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Florida’s southwest coast, a ribbon of inlets and barrier islands normally brimming with wildlife, has become a red tide slaughterhouse this summer.
Dead fish by the thousands have clogged inlets and canals. Since Sunday, 10 dead Goliath grouper, the massive reef fish that can live four decades or more, have floated to the surface. At least 90 sea turtles have been found stranded as the tide stretches well into nesting season. And Tuesday, as hundreds of residents packed a standing-room-only Cape Coral yacht club to hear about the federal government’s efforts to deal with water conditions, a dead manatee washed up at a nearby boat ramp.
The list goes on: earlier this month the carcass of a whale shark was found on a Sanibel beach with red tide in its muscles, liver, intestines and stomach. Hundreds of double-breasted cormorants, brown pelicans and other seabirds have been sickened or died.
Coupled with a massive blue-green algae bloom that spread across Lake Okeechobee and snaked down the Caloosahatchee River in June, the dire conditions have infuriated businesses and residents, and drawn national attention to the normally quiet tourist towns.
“This is horrific what we’re enduring now, but it needs to be a wake-up call to people that clean water is important to more than just wildlife,” said Heather Barron, a veterinarian and research director at Sanibel’s CROW Clinic wildlife rescue center, which began treating poisoned birds as early as October. “As the person dealing with all these hundreds of dying animals, I’m upset.”
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Hawaii authorities are investigating after dozens of baby hammerhead sharks were found dead Tuesday near Keehi Lagoon in Honolulu.
The state Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement has opened an investigation following the discovery of 50 to 100 dead shark pups piled up near La Mariana Sailing Club.
The lagoon is a known birthing location for hammerhead sharks, but it is not natural for shark pups to be found on shore in large numbers, state officials said.
The sharks may have been netted and dumped on land by a fisherman, said Andrew Rossiter, the director of the Waikiki Aquarium.
“To breathe they have to keep moving, so once they’re in the net for even two to three minutes, they’re unable to breathe and they suffocate,” Rossiter told KHON-TV.
Rossiter said he has never seen so many shark pups killed at one time. The state should have tougher laws to prevent the killing, he said.
“When it’s the pupping season and it’s a pupping area, then maybe they should restrict or ban the use of gill nets just for a couple of weeks to give them a chance,” Rossiter said.
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