Dozens of Dead Sharks Found in Kaneohe Bay

Terrance Ghoston
Terrance Ghoston
John Naughton, biologist and shark expert
John Naughton, biologist and shark expert

KANEOHE (KHNL)  It is an eerie scene in Kaneohe Bay, Thursday morning, as close to three dozen hammerhead sharks lay dead in the water.

An investigation is apparently already underway to determine what caused the shark deaths, on such a large scale.

"Along this whole coastline, all dead," says Terrance Ghoston lives near Kaneohe Bay.

He says the family dog actually discovered the 2-to-3 foot carcasses, yesterday afternoon, when the canine returned from the beach with a dead hammerhead in its mouth.

"36 - I think I counted, dead hammerhead sharks floating along our shore. Trying to figure out what's going on, what the problem is, not really sure."

According to Ghoston, a scientist who identified himself as being an employee of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration responded to the strange scene. Ghoston says the scientist offered no explanation -- nor advice.

"He took a couple sharks back to his laboratory. But, he couldn't tell me much about it. He told me to give him a call in a couple of days."

So now, the mystery remains. Why are so many hammerhead sharks dead in the bay, while other fish, and shoreline crabs continue to live.

"That's one of my main concerns because I was out there in the water. My dog was out in the water and if there's something out there killing the sharks I'm afraid it might affect me. Why is it only the sharks? I've seen no other dead fish. I've seen crabs running around. The only dead things are sharks."

Local biologists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are examining the carcasses.

They say it's common for one or two dead pups to wash ashore this time of the year, but it's unusual for them to see 20-40 dead sharks in the same spot.

They believe a fisherman may have caught the sharks with a net and then, threw them out.

"We don't know for sure this is what happened, but from our experience in the past when we get large numbers of pups dying, this is generally the cause," said John Naughton, biologist.

The biologists have looked at the dead sharks and so far, they haven't found any net marks on them. Residents in the area have their own theories.

"Part of nature I guess," said Cookie Rodrigues, Kailua resident.

"Well, we've had pollution in the water for the last couple of months. That could have been a contributor to the water," said Frank Rodrigues, Kailua resident.

If more dead sharks wash ashore, experts will investigate further.

"We're going to make a decision later if we need to send samples to a lab for contaminants analysis," said Naughton.