|Sean Van Sommeran leaders in a small blue shark for tagging and measuring
prior to release; fall 1992. Blue sharks are sampled in the summer and
fall of the year. Specialized terminal gear is employed so as to minimize
stress to the shark. A small barbless hook and a plastic covered leader
are used when hook and line methods are used. A scoop net is used for
most of the small blue sharks. Researchers scoop the smaller sharks as
they swim close to the boat or approach the bait bag.
This method prevents undue injury and stress to the sharks which are
measured, gendered, tagged and blood sampled with a syringe. With sharks
too large to scoop net, the hook and line method is employed. It is
crucial that the study subject is not over-stressed or unnecessarily
injured and researchers with the PSRF are always working to develop less
invasive sampling methods.
|"Trub" a local fisherman caught this short fin mako weighing several hundred lbs. in the
Monterey bay in the fall of 1944.
The mako was caught in a lompara net at night while fishing pompano near
the Rio Del Mar beach in the north east corner of the Monterey bay. Trub
said that the shark exploded out of the water taking a large section of the
net with him into the air, drenching all aboard. The shark twisted itself
up in the cork line trapping itself. Trub and his 1st mate Nardo killed
the shark with pistols. "Trub" is short for "trouble."
|A local fisherman poses behind a single night's catch of sharks at Santa
Cruz Fisherman's wharf late summer 1946. It aint like it used to be.
The catch includes a 900 lbs. white shark, several thresher sharks and
three soupfins. The sharks were caught on long lines baited with mackerel
and sardines. According to the old school fisherman there were more and
bigger everything back in the days. Basking sharks were all over the place
and 1000 lb. mola-molas were common.
Director Van Sommeran inspects the tell tale signs of white shark
visitation upon a dead humpback whale.
This humpback whale stranded near Gray Hound Rock in the fall of 1993.
The dead whale washed up just four miles south of Ano Nuevo Island and was
discovered by Park Rangers. The whale carcass had apparently been
visited by several white sharks before eventually beaching. The sharks had badly
damaged the head and jaw. Much tissue had been removed from the whale's
throat and the tongue had been gouged out. The lower mandible was
broken and exposed. Most of the shark bites were concentrated near the whale's
head but there were several large shark bites on isolated parts of the
whale. Some of the isolated bite marks were over 30 inches across. The
bites all appeared to be fresh although the whale had been dead for at
least 4-5 days. During 1993 several whales washed up around the Monterey
Bay, some of them had marks from killer whales. The dead humpback did
not have any marks that would indicate killer whale involvement.
|Director Van Sommeran points out forensic features indicative of killer
whale predation upon the carcass of a juvenile gray whale during the
spring of 1997. During the northern leg of the California gray whale migration
in the spring, orcas or "killer whales" are known to intercept the calf/cow
pairs of gray whales as they journey north across the Monterey Bay
toward Alaska. During the spring of 1997, no less than seven gray whales were
observed by researchers to have been killed by orcas. In this photo Van
Sommeran gestures toward the dead whales torn and broken mandible and
the missing tongue. Long parallel scratched on the whales flukes and
pectoral fins are also clearly associated with orca predation. The juvenile gray
whale washed ashore two miles north of Ano Nuevo Island in March of 1997.
|The carcass of a gray whale bears the clear signs of orca predation and post mortum shark bites.
Some of the shark bites were approximately 24" across. The head had been savaged by orcas during an attack that occurred in late spring 1996 over the Soquel canyon, Monterey bay.
|S.R. Van Sommeran inspects the handiwork of orca killer whales, spring 1993.
|A dead Minke whale bearing the marks of a killer whale attack and post mortem blue shark bites in spring of 1993.
|A male "rogue" orca feeds on a California sealion in Monterey bay California, Oct, 1996.
Monterey bay is a waypoint for marauding packs of transient, or "rogue" killer whales which are distinctly
different from the more common "resident" orcas that live in the Northwest.
Resident orcas feed primarily on fish, live in established home ranges from Canada and Alaska.
Rogue orcas travel far and wide from Mexico to alaska and feed on whales, seals and porpoise as well as fish.
Rogue orcas have a distinctive vocal pattern that is completely unlike the resident type of orcas.
|PSRF Senior Interns Jason Cutter and Mickeal Williams transport a
tranqualized leopard shark from the California Dept of Fish and Game
Facility in Santa Cruz back to the Elkhorn Slough Research Reserve.
The leopard shark was tranquilized with MS 222 and tagged with a t-bar tag.|
Fritz-Cope/PSRF June 1997.