Staff from the Seaside Aquarium participated in an impromptu dissection of a nearly 12-foot, female thresher shark yesterday August 18, 2022. Staff received a call about a dead thresher shark near the Cranberry Beach approach on the Long Beach peninsula on Wednesday afternoon but were unable to retrieve the shark until the next day. By the time staff arrived someone had cut off the dorsal fin and removed the jaws (which is not illegal but does comprise scientific data.) The shark was too big to freeze, so the decision was made to dissect the shark that day. It was a great learning opportunity for staff and people passing by. We had a few young kids put on gloves and get their hands dirty!
Staff took various external and internal measurements along with tissue and organ samples, which will be sent off to Taylor Chapple at Oregon State University. He is currently studying sharks off of the Oregon Coast (among other things). If you are interested in learning more about sharks off of the Oregon Coast visit https://marineresearch.oregonstate.edu/big-fish
The female shark measured 11.8 feet (360 cm) and weighed nearly 200 pounds. Thresher sharks follow the warm water currents off of the Oregon Coast during the summer months. They can reach up to about 18 feet. Like salmon sharks and great whites they are able to raise their body temperature above the ambient water temperature.