New sixgill shark mystery, and how you can help Diver Laura sleuth it

“Diver Laura” James needs some research help. She’s looking into recent sixgill-shark strandings around Puget Sound – at least five confirmed in the past few months, she says. One happened recently near Alki Point Lighthouse, but “the tide came in and washed the carcass away before the scientists could get to it.”

What you see above is the remains of a six-gill found stranded in Sequim with a mesh crab-bait bag clearly visible. Laura says they want to check other strandings for something similar.

So if you happen onto a stranded/dead shark, she requests that you get in contact with her. Even better – take a picture and send it with the location. Better still, grab and freeze a tissue sample. She adds, “I’m also very interested in any old carcasses that might be around, as I can still get a DNA sample from them.” Laura is reachable at

P.S. Not familiar with six-gills? Laura points us to this:

7 Replies to "New sixgill shark mystery, and how you can help Diver Laura sleuth it"

  • dsa September 12, 2018 (12:33 am)

    Not to be argumentative, but did Laura say how they knew the remains in the photo was from a six gill?BTW, I enjoyed the movie, didn’t know anything about these creatures before today.  I thought all that was out there was something we used to catch that we called mud sharks when we were fishing for flounder.

    • Diverlaura September 12, 2018 (9:12 am)

      The remains in the picture were first located approx two weeks ago by a local diver when they were still fresh and it was most definitely a sixgill. He went back to see and that is what he found in the same location.  A team is hopefully sampling them as I type this. 

  • sgs September 12, 2018 (4:19 am)

    3 am, can’t sleep.  Let me watch this video about sharks and surely it will put me to sleep.  Watch this until the very end!  Fascinating, wonderous!  I have lived here all my life and did not know about this mystery in our Elliott Bay.    Yes, please do help collect data for Diver Laura if you come across remains.  The mystery is fascinating and so important to unravel.  It’s 4:16 am now and I’m going to be screwed trying to get through the day tomorrow………but I am much richer for hearing this story, and I’m not even particularly drawn to sharks…..

  • dsa September 12, 2018 (12:33 pm)

    SGS, I agree with you about how fascinating the movie is.  I too have lived here all my life and don’t remember hearing of such large sharks.  It makes me wonder if it was purposely news suppressed.  I know from my previous employment we asked to keep some things quiet.  For example while working on the roadway and a driver performed a malicious act toward us.  I won’t even say what it was now.  But my point is the movie talked about fishing for the sharks and needing to eventually outlaw it.  So maybe the authorities did not want to advertise the availability of the sharks.

  • Melissa Kirk September 12, 2018 (4:57 pm)

    A few years ago a carcass washed up that looked similar to the picture. I don’t have tissue saved… just a picture. It looked bizarre and several people on the beach were puzzled. 

    • Diverlaura September 12, 2018 (5:35 pm)

      If you have that picture still kicking around would love to take a look at it… 

  • Diverlaura September 12, 2018 (10:35 pm)

    here is a short video of Coastal Watershed Institute interns sampling the Gardiner Boat Ramp (Sequim) remains.   I’ll be meeting them for sample handoff and then delivering it to the Sixgill Research team at the Seattle Aquarium.   Huge thanks to Tracy and the WSB for helping break this story which allowed enough local interest to help make this possible!

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