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Friday, April 22, 2011

At least a Dozen Shark deaths in Redwood City spur search for cause - 21st Apr 2011

At least a dozen leopard sharks have been found dead or dying within the past several days in bayfront lagoons in Redwood City, putting local researchers on alert for some kind of infection or toxic discharge in San Francisco Bay.

The deaths, including both juvenile and adult sharks, appear isolated and far less serious than previous die-offs in 2006 and 2007, which left shark carcasses strewn all over the bay, officials said. Shark experts fear there may be more of the strikingly patterned creatures floundering in Bay Area waterways and succumbing to pollution and disease.

"In the last decade, we've seen an increase in the animals trapped in culverts and pumps that used to be tidal canals or poisoned by periodic pollution events," said Sean Van Sommeran, executive director of the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation, a Santa Cruz group that tracks sharks in Monterey and San Francisco bays.

Beginning Monday, Van Sommeran received several phone calls from people who had seen leopard sharks stranded or dead in tide pools and sloughs just south of Foster City. Read More