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‘I freaked out and nearly fell off my board’: paddleboarder encounters dead shark near B.C. beach

Bluntnose sixgill shark, which is at-risk for being endangered, likely washed back out to sea
A dead bluntnose sixgill shark was spotted at White Rock Beach by a resident on May 18. (Contributed photo - Shannon Sayers)

A dead shark spotted by a White Rock resident earlier this month gave her such a shock it almost knocked her right off her paddle board.

“The ocean was a bit choppy that day (Thursday, May 18), so I went to the pier, & paddled around for an hour. Then I started to head back to East beach & about half way back, I could see something bopping up & down,” recalled Shannon Sayers.

Was it a seal? Sayers thought so, but upon closer inspection, she realized it most definitely was a shark, and a deceased one at that.

Where different whale species can be seen frequently from East Beach, sharks are a less common sight.

“I wasn’t expecting to see a shark… I was freaked out for a minute & nearly fell off my board,” Sayers said.

“In all my 53 years, I’ve never seen a shark in White Rock, in that area before.”

In an odd coincidence, before heading out to the water, Sayers bumped into the fin of her board and jokingly called the mark on her shin a ‘shark bite.’

“Like they say, be careful what you wish for!” she quipped.

According to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) what Sayers encountered was a bluntnose sixgill shark, measuring a little more than three metres long. This species can be found along B.C.’s coast, among 14 other shark types, according to DFO.

Listed as a ‘special concern’ for species at risk, the bluntnose sixgill shark was identified as such in 2007 for the first time and its status has not changed since 2009 when it was added to the ‘Schedule 1’ status on the Canadian government website.

ALSO READ: ‘Nothing to be scared of’: Dead shark washes up on B.C. shore

When a species is listed as a special concern, it means that it “may become a threatened or endangered species because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats,” the website further states.

“Fishery officers alerted the City of White Rock, as it is a municipal responsibility to remove any deceased wildlife on land,” said Leri Davies, media relations representative of DFO.

“However, it may have washed back out to sea, where it becomes part of the natural food chain for other creatures. The cause of death is unknown, however there was no evidence of blunt force trauma.”

If anyone spots a shark, they can report it to DFO by emailing either or

Individuals can also call the Observe, Record, Report line at 1-800-465-4336.


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Sobia Moman

About the Author: Sobia Moman

Sobia Moman is a news and features reporter with the Peace Arch News.
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