Dead 12-14 foot shark found in Alberni Inlet

It wasn't exactly 'Jaws' but a Port Alberni log salvager found a 14-foot female Sixgill shark in the Alberni Inlet on Thursday. A nearby heavy logging winch had to be used to pull the shark out of the water.

West Van Isle Contracting worker Adam McLeallan stands beside a 14-foot female Sixgill shark that was found dead in the Alberni Inlet on Thursday



A Port Alberni log salvager recovered more than loose logs while working in the Alberni Inlet.

Ron Steinbach was about to pull a log off the Boy Scout Camp beach near Coulson’s mill on Thursday when he found a 12-14 foot long dead shark.

“I knew it was a Sixgill shark when I first saw it,” Steinbach said.

“It was floating half in the water and half out and it looked like it was about four days old.”

Steinback lashed the shark to his salvage boat and towed it to the former APD site nearby to show workers from West Van Isle Contracting.

There, workers estimated that the shark weighed in excess of 900 pounds.

“I didn’t relize how big it was until Grant (Lange) pulled it up on the winch,” Ryan Neuwirth said.

“The tail came out then it seemed to just keep coming and coming.”

Sixgill sharks are common off the coast but are rare up in these waters.

The dead shark was discovered to be female after expelling five pups, all of which were dead.

“The biologist that came said it may have come up to shallow water to give birth,” Neuwirth said.

The shark was the butt of some dark humour among the workers.

“Someone had to dive down for a piece of equipment that was dropped in the water the day before it was found,” Steinbach said.

“I teased and asked ‘You weren’t down there were you?’”

Officials from Fisheries and Oceans Canada including a shark specialist from Nanaimo came to Port Alberni on Friday to pick up the shark.

West Van Isle workers lowered the remains onto a Fisheries and Oceans truck to be transported to a facility in Nanaimo for further study.

Fisheries officials weren’t available for comment.

According to the Fisheries and Oceans website, the Sixgill shark is the largest predatory shark regularly encountered in Canada’s pacific waters.

Their population is distributed throughout much of Canada’s pacific waters including inlets, continental shelf and slope and the Strait of Georgia.

Although the Sixgill shark is found from the surface to depths of 2,500 metres, it is primarily a deepwater species found in waters below 91 m.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

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