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Shark rescued on beach in Pacific City

Photo: Oregon Coast Aquarium

A juvenile salmon shark reportedly stranded itself on the beach in Pacific City this past weekend.

Staff Report

Portland news station KGW said the shark was seen edging onto shore by friends Julie Hurliman and Jill Boyer, who were walking with their children on Sunday, Aug. 11. Hurliman told the TV station that the shark appeared healthy. The friends alerted Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife about the stranded animal.

The shark was reportedly returned to the ocean and swam away. Oregon Coast Aquarium on social media posted that it was very common for this type of shark to wash up on shore throughout the year, with the largest concentration coming in the summer.

Oregon Coast Aquarium added it was likely that the juvenile shark in this case was unable to thrive, which is typical for young animals, and noted the stranding numbers for 2019 have been consistent with other years and not abnormal.

“A lot of people mistake the salmon sharks for baby great whites, but no need to fear – salmon sharks do not typically attack humans, and there has never been a reported incident in Oregon,” Oregon Coast Aquarium commented on its post.

A nearly 9-foot long thresher shark washed ashore on the north end of Manzanita on July 31. City staff called the Seaside Aquarium because the shark was still alive, but it died shortly after. Aquarium staff also collected a deceased harbor seal at the same time.

“Thresher sharks do naturally live off the coast, but don’t often wash up,” Chris Havel, Nehalem Bay State Park, said. “All wild animals deserve a wide berth, but this species isn’t known to pose a threat to people.”

Thresher sharks do not appear to be a threat, although some divers have been hit with the upper tail lobe. All thresher shark species have been listed as vulnerable to extinction by the World Conservation Union since 2007.