The Seaside Aquarium partnered with the Columbia River Maritime Museum to give students an opportunity they will not soon forget.

On June 3, Warrenton eighth graders participated in the dissection of a 3-foot salmon shark. The shark was already deceased when it washed ashore on the south end of Seaside Beach in October 2020.

They took measurements and samples of the shark’s liver and muscle which will be sent to the Hatfield Marine Science Center and used in further research.

Another opportunity was afforded to Eisenhower Elementary School on  June 5. This enthusiastic group of fifth graders dove right in to dissect a 7-foot broadnosed sevengill shark.

Like the salmon shark, the broadnosed sevengill shark was deceased before washing ashore on the south end of Gearhart beach on March 31. Both groups were amazing and engaged. It was a blast just to sit back and watch while these non-squeamish kids got a once in a lifetime hands on experience.

They asked great questions, and everyone got their hands dirty. The dissections were led by Columbia River Maritime Museum’s educational director Nate Sandel, also known as “Nate the Great”.

We will often get a call through the Marine Mammal Stranding Network when a shark is found dead on the beach and while they are obviously not marine mammals, we do our best to try to respond and document the event.

If the shark is in good enough condition, it will be recovered and frozen in the hopes that it can be used for educational experiences just like this.

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