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Report a Shark, Skate or Ray in BC

Report a Shark, Skate or Ray in BC
If you catch a shark or skate while fishing or see one washed up on a beach, we want to hear from you! Here are some steps you can take quickly and with little equipment. Note if a beached shark is alive or shows any responsiveness - do NOT touch it. If you happen to catch the shark while fishing please take a photo and release the animal alive.

Essential information to record

  • Record date, time and location including GPS coordinates (if possible)
  • Length from tip of nose to tip of tail (use your foot length if no equipment is available)
  • Behaviour - if alive what was it doing
  • Sex – males have claspers
  • Any marks, injuries or fishing gear that suggests how the animal may have died

Photograph details to take

  • Whole animal, preferably the SIDE view (include hand or foot for scale)
  • Underside of the head and under the pectoral fins
  • Underside of the pelvic fins (verifies shark’s sex)
  • Teeth, close-up (verifies species identification)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Local Salmon Shark Strandings Started for 2008

The juvenile Salmon Sharks are back for their 3rd year of August strandings in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve area (that we have documented). Sadly, the ~3 foot little guys seem to get disoriented or sick and push ashore until they die. Many kind people have tried to put them back in the water but they often wash up dead the next day and not far away. Keep trying though!

This particular shark stranded itself on Long Beach for a good 45 mins before someone came across it and put it back in the water. Amazingly, it was still alive! Not for long though; it was dead by the next morning. We are still trying to figure out why this species strands so often...when we find out, we'll let you know.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Shark Waters of Pacific Rim

Over the last year we have received valuable sighting and behavioural information on sharks off the west coast of Vancouver Island. Information was gathered from local people, including sport fishers, whale watchers, beach combers and surfers. Reports include on-the-water sightings of eight Big Skates, 29 Blue Sharks, two Great White Sharks, three Sixgill Sharks, two Sevengill Sharks, 28 Spiny Dogfish and two Tope Sharks. Four beached juvenile Salmon Sharks were also reported from June to August If you have observed sharks in waters surrounding Vancouver Island or have questions about the project you can reach us at shark_reports_bc@yahoo.ca.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Mermaid's Purses

Be on the lookout for skate egg cases a.k.a. “Mermaid’s purses” on your local beaches. Late winter and early spring is when these marine jewels wash up. These tough, brown, leathery cases are made of chitin and contain the embryos of skate species. Egg cases usually wash up empty or full of sand, but sometimes they still contain young skate embryos.

On January 18th we did an egg case survey on Long Beach in Pacific Rim National Park and found 14 big skate and 5 longnose skate egg cases. Eleven skates species inhabit the coastal waters of Vancouver Island and each produces a unique egg case, but the big and longnose skates are the most common. Big skate egg cases are the most distinctive and can hold up to 7 young skates, whereas other skate species only have one individual per egg case.

Remember mermaid’s purses are a treasure for all to see so please leave them on the beaches for the next treasure hunter to discover.