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Shark Deaths Could Be Triggered By Heavy Rainfall

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, May 18, 2011

State Fish and Game Marine Biologist Carrie Wilson says there are a lot of crazy theories floating around about why the sharks are dying.

"All kinds of stuff  - poisons and…if you read the internet you'll see all kinds of things that people are coming up with. But we're trying to be pragmatic and do our research."

More than 100 of the sharks have washed ashore in San Mateo, Marin and San Francisco counties over the past month. Wilson says the rain could be reducing the salinity of the bay's water which would have a lethal effect on the sharks' body chemistry.

"If we have a lot of fresh water intruding into the salt water then it's very stressful on these animals."

Wilson says that's what state pathologists determined was the cause of the last big leopard shark die off back in 2006 - when rainfall was also way above normal.

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