Mass marine animal die-offs have become regular news in recent years, especially along the western coast of the America’s where it is quite common to hear of pods of whales or other animals mysteriously perishing in great numbers.
Most recently along the coast of California, primarily around the San Francisco Bay area, an alarming number of sharks are dying, and officials are at a loss as to why. For the past three months, thousands of dead leopard sharks have been washing up on shores in the bay, and their decomposing bodies may be making the problem worse.
The best guess at the present moment is a fungal infection affecting the brains of these sharks, likely a result of the major rains which hit California earlier this year which greatly affected the salinity of the San Francisco bay, although, some researchers admit they do not fully understand why this is happening.
Similar events were reported in 2011, with some pointing out the likelihood that the animals were affected by more than just fresh water, but by the amount of man-made pollution and contamination which flows into the ocean from inland.
Canals that regulate tide flow may be preventing the sharks, which usually grow about five feet long, from escaping some kind of toxic discharge or other manmade pollution source, said Sean Van Sommeran with the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation in Santa Cruz. [Source]
CBS News has the following report: