The smaller sixgill shark Evan Sztricsko found last summer near Ogden Point. The eye had been eaten away by marine scavengers. (Photo by Evan Sztricsko )

Mystery 10-foot shark that washed ashore identified

Staff at a marine ecology lab at the University of Victoria are seeking a necropsy to be performed

The 10-foot shark that washed ashore at Coles Bay in Sidney, B.C., has been identified by experts as a Hexanchus griseus or a bluntnose sixgill shark.

Residents saw what they thought was a shark swimming in the bay in the Greater Victoria area last Sunday, and two days later, saw it had washed onto the beach, dead.

Brian Timmer, a student at the University of Victoria’s prestigious Juanes Laboratory, which focuses on marine ecology and conservation, thought because of the shark’s distended belly, it’s likely it was a mother that ran into complications while giving birth. Mother sharks are known to come into shallower waters to give birth and have large litters of 20 to 100 pups.

James Younger, a Saanich Peninsula resident was by the shoreline this afternoon when a biologist inspecting the shark, made a discovery that seemed to confirm Timmer’s suspicions.

“[The biologist] saw a head, leant down and pulled out a baby shark from the birth canal. He said the mother probably died while giving birth.”

RELATED: 10-foot-long shark washes ashore in North Saanich

READ ALSO: Ratfish generates social media buzz on Vancouver Island

Other possibilities are that it was poisoned, endured a stressful event, or died of old age.

The Juanes Laboratory is contacting Fisheries and Oceans Canada to see if they can perform the necropsy and report back.

A similar event occurred in Port Alberni in 2011, when a shark washed onto shore after encountering complications while giving birth.

Whale-watching skipper Evan Sztricsko was on the water south of Ogden Point in Victoria last summer when he recovered a much smaller sixgill shark.

“I was informed by the DFO that often they die choking on traps that are baited for crabs or other animals,” said Sztricsko.

READ ALSO: Rare ‘king of the salmon’ washes up on Oak Bay beach

Timmer added that since there will be a necropsy, the chances of a whale-style beach explosion, where internal gasses build up until they blow, is slim. Likely the stomach and any other organs that might have had gas buildup from decomposition will be taken for analysis and used to find out about the shark’s diet and lifestyle.

nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Just Posted

Oceanside RCMP members take the plunge for Special Olympics

Some members of the Oceanside RCMP detachments took the plunge freezing waters… Continue reading

KD Air flights ceased until early March for airline improvements

Focus largely on flight schedules and convenience

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Parksville to host firefighters bonspiel

The Parksville Fire Department will host, for the first time, the 61st… Continue reading

Jeep bursts into flames on highway near Nanoose Bay

Emergency crews responded to blaze at approximately 9:15 a.m. on Tuesday

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

B.C. man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

Most Read