Unprecedented Die-Off of Leopard Sharks in Redwood City, Calif. Bay Area

“The one thing that we do know is that the leopard sharks
are washing up dead in record numbers.”

- Sean Van Sommeran, Exec. Dir., Pelagic Shark Research Foundation

Dead leopard shark washed up on Coyote Point beach east of Burlingame, California. One of “an unprecedented leopard shark die-off in Redwood City, Foster City, Coyote Point and Richardson Bay” during the first five months of 2011, according to the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation. Image courtesy PSRF.
Dead leopard shark washed up on Coyote Point beach east of Burlingame, California. One of “an unprecedented leopard shark die-off in Redwood City, Foster City, Coyote Point and Richardson Bay” during the first five months of 2011, according to the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation. Image courtesy PSRF.

 

May 27, 2011  Capitola, California - In April 2011, the California Fish and Game Department and the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation (PSRF) in Santa Cruz and Capitola, California, started getting phone calls about dead leopard sharks washed up on beaches. As reports increased, there seemed to be a pattern of the most deaths occurring in the San Francisco Bay regions of Redwood City, Foster City, Coyote Point, and Richardson Bay on the north side of Sausalito. The California Department of Fish and Game toxicology lab has done some necropsies on the shark bodies and discovered hemorrhaging around the internal organs and inflammation and lesions in the leopard shark brains. But so far no one understands what is killing the sharks.

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