There have been several tell tale signs of large sharks showing up off the North coast of Oregon. The local news media has covered this here and here.
It is thought these shark bites are coming from either a Great White shark or a Seven Gill shark. Certainly this is something that would be cause for alarm for anyone that is surfing off the coast. This year there has been a lot of changes in the Pacific and the sightings of more shark attacked mammals may become the new normal. While most of the reporting going on in the most recent news stories has revolved around the North coast beaches in Clatsop county, we stumbled across this fresh seal carcass on a early morning beach walk back in August, just South of Cape Meares.
Sharks Kill Seals in Oregon
As reported in the KPTV story linked above, “Seeing shark bites isn’t alarming, we see that quite often, but not this close together. What it tells me is something is hanging around pretty close,” said Keith Chandler with Marine Mammal Stranding Network.
And while there is a couple of potential killers of seals off the Oregon coast that swim in the Pacific as highlighted by OregonLive:
“There’s only one shark that would do that: a great white,” said Jim Burke, director of animal husbandry at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport.
While other sharks go for smaller prey, particularly young marine mammals, great whites stalk larger sea creatures. They are considered “ambush animals” because of the way they attack from beneath their prey, he said.
Burke noted sharks are seen or encountered throughout the year, especially in late summer or fall fishing season. The marine mammals follow the fish, and the sharks follow them.
“The marine mammal populations are extremely healthy right now,” he said. “The predators will follow.”
Sharks can go months without eating, Burke added, so one shark or several may be attacking these animals.
You never know what you might stumble upon on your next walk on the beaches in Oregon. While it is always a sad day for the seal, the Shark has to eat too.