No shark sightings off Southern Oregon coast so far

Southern Oregon so far has escaped the spate of shark sightings off the central and northern coasts last weekend.

A tuna fisherman says he captured a 12-foot great white shark in a crab pot at Depoe Bay, and Seaside police issued a warning to beachgoers after a shark was spotted off the surf line.

But that's not the case in Curry County, where sharkmania has yet to surface.

“I haven't heard anything about sharks,” says Todd Confer, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's Gold Beach District fish biologist. “I don't think we've had a verified great white (sighting) here in a while.”

Tuna anglers running out of Brookings, Gold Beach and Charleston have reported seeing blue sharks far offshore, but that's relatively common in the warm currents during summer months, Confer says.

Dick Teeny of Gresham says he was aboard his 20-foot recreational fishing boat when he tried to pull up a crab pot but discovered the dead 12-foot great white entangled in the line.

The shark has been confirmed as a great white and the Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division says it's continuing an investigation into the creature's death.
The shark was seized and turned over the Hatfield Marine Science Center.

State police note that under state and federal law, it is unlawful to take or possess great white sharks. The case remains under investigation, says Capt. Walt Markee, who heads the OSP's Fish and Wildlife Division.

ODFW fish biologist Eric Schindler in Newport says there are always a few great whites hunting in waters off the Oregon Coast.

“We don't have enough information to know when they are here, but they are here,” he says. “They've always been here, but unless one decides to take a bite at someone, it's pretty unlikely to be encountered.”

On Sunday, police in Seaside drove up and down the beach and used loudspeakers to announce a shark sighting. Lt. Dave Ham said lifeguards saw a distinctive dorsal fin and a lifeguard came across a porpoise that had been bitten.

The Coast Guard also reported seeing a school of sharks near the mouth of the Columbia River. Those were likely blue sharks, according to Keith Chandler, manager of the Seaside Aquarium.

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