July 10th, 2016 (Kent Faulk). Alabama’s Marine Resources Division and Dauphin Island Sea Lab are investigating the deaths of dozens of sharks found Saturday morning along the shore of Mobile Bay, WKRG television news is reporting.
The director of the Alabama Marine Resources Division said the number of sharks an officer found was 57.
The sharks, identified mostly as bull sharks, were discovered by residents and visitors on the beach on Belleair Boulevard, near Dauphin Island Parkway, the television station reported. One woman, who is on vacation with her family, reported finding a net with close to 40 sharks inside, the television station reports.
“It definitely caught our attention because I know that that is illegal and you shouldn’t be doing that. We just didn’t know what to do about it,” Sabrina Rios told WKRG.
Rios reported she and others tried to bury as many of the sharks as they could because of the smell.
Chris Blankenship, director of the Alabama Marine Resources Division, stated in an email to AL.com on Sunday afternoon that a Marine Resources Conservation officer had responded to the report of dead sharks in and around a piece of gill net on the western shore of Mobile Bay.
“It appears that sharks were caught in a recreational gill net and discarded,” Blankenship stated. “There were 57 sharks and they all appear to be juvenile bull sharks.”
The sharks were collected by the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and will be used for research by Dr Marcus Drymon, the resident Alabama shark expert, Blankenship stated. The Marine Resources Division was not able to identify the net owner. “We will continue to patrol the area to ensure recreational gill nets are used legally,” Blankenship wrote.
Blankenship stated that any unattended gills observed should be reported to the Marine Resources Division by calling 251-476-1256.