Hundreds of Leopard Sharks dying in San Francisco Bay

Hundreds of Leopard Sharks dying in San Francisco Bay

An alarming number of sharks have been found dead in San Francisco Bay this year, and biologists in the region are still scratching their heads to figure out the cause. Since mid-March, hundreds of sharks, including bat rays, halibut and leopard sharks, have been found along the shorelines of Foster City, Redwood City, Alameda, Oakland, Hayward, Berkeley, and San Francisco. Some dead sharks were found on beaches in Marin County as well.

Mark Okihiro, a fish pathologist at the California Department of Fish & Wildlife, said, “My estimate is that several hundred sharks have already died. There appears to be no leveling off of shark deaths in the bay. I am still getting reports from locations throughout the South Bay regarding dead or dying leopard sharks.”

Okihiro and his team collected 21 dead leopard sharks and a couple of bat rays last month along the Foster City shoreline.

It is the second consecutive year that huge numbers of San Francisco Bay’s most abundant shark have died during the spring pupping season.

Thus far, the biologists have failed to figure out the cause of the sharks’ deaths. However, some experts are of the view that the sharks are picking up toxins in stagnant saltwater marshes, sloughs as well as at the rear the gates of the man-made lagoons in Foster and Redwood cities.

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