12-foot shark found on Northwest shore

Updated:

This 12-foot sixgill shark washed up Wednesday. A director of the Friday Harbor Whale Museum said it was the first time such a shark has been stranded on the San Juan Islands during her tenure. For more, go to sanjuanjournal.com.

A 12-foot sixgill shark washed up on a San Juan Island beach Wednesday, giving students and instructors a rare look at the deep-water animal.

The director of the Friday Harbor Whale Museum told the San Juan Journal this is the first time a sixgill has been stranded on the San Juans during her tenure. The deadly sharks can go to depth of 3,000 feet.

Here’s more from the Journal:

Lopez Island's Gene Helfman, professor emeritus at the University of Georgia's Odum School of Ecology, said that because sixgills live at such great depths not a lot is known about their behaviors. However, he said the prevailing theory is that females venture into shallow and protected inland waters of Puget Sound to give birth.

Helfman noted that a 14-foot-long female sixgill was carrying 80 embryos, or "pups", as they're called, when it washed up on a beach near Shelton in 2007. It died shortly after it stranded.

Follow this link to read the full sixgill shark story from the San Juan Journal.