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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Wildlife Detectives: Mystery Sharks of Seattle

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HERE'S A SHARK RIGHT HERE GUYS!

WE GOT IT, WE GOT IT.

Narrator: IN THE LATE 1990s.

BENEATH SEATTLE'S SKYLINE...

PRETTY MUCH OUT OF NOWHERE,

THIS INFLUX OF SHARKS APPEARED AND WE KNEW NOTHING ABOUT THEM.

Narrator: ONE OF THE

WORLD'S LARGEST AND MOST ELUSIVE SHARKS UNEXPECTEDLY APPEARED.

YOU'RE BASICALLY LOOKING AT A LIVING DINOSAUR.

THERE WAS NO KNOWLEDGE OF

THESE ANIMALS WHATSOEVER,

OTHER THAN THAT THEY EXISTED.

Narrator: WHAT COULD THEIR SUDDEN ARRIVAL MEAN?

AND HOW WOULD IT ALTER THE ECOSYSTEM?

SCIENTISTS BEGAN TO INVESTIGATE.

BUT THEY HAD TO ACT FAST.

SHARKS THROUGHOUT THE SYSTEM WERE DISAPPEARING.

Narrator: VANISHED.

AS SUDDENLY AS THEY HAD APPEARED.

UNDERSTANDING WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM

COULD BE CRITICAL TO SHARK CONSERVATION EFFORTS WORLDWIDE.

TO FIND ANSWERS,

RESEARCHERS VENTURED INTO THE DEPTHS

TO UNRAVEL THE MYSTERY BEHIND THE SHARKS OF SEATTLE.

Narrator: THE JAGGED NORTHWEST CORNER OF THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES,

WHERE THE MIGHTY PACIFIC WAGES WAR

AGAINST A RUGGED AND FORBIDDING COASTLINE.

AN ARM OF THIS UNTAMED FORCE

REACHES INTO THE STATE OF WASHINGTON.

THIS IS PUGET SOUND,

ONE OF THE WORLD'S RICHEST INLAND SEAS.

AS A BIOLOGIST FOR THE SEATTLE AQUARIUM,

JEFF CHRISTIANSEN KNOWS THESE WATERS

BETTER THAN ALMOST ANYONE.

I'VE BEEN DIVING WITH PACIFIC

NORTHWEST ANIMALS ALL MY LIFE.

>> Narrator: HE'S LOGGED THOUSANDS OF HOURS BELOW THE SURFACE

AND ENCOUNTERED A VAST ARRAY OF EXOTIC CREATURES.

BUT NOTHING COULD PREPARE HIM FOR THE STRANGERS WHO APPEARED

ON THE SCENE IN THE LATE 1990s.

ONE OF THE LARGEST OCEAN PREDATORS,

THE SIXGILL SHARK, BEGAN HAUNTING THE SHALLOWS OF PUGET SOUND.

THEY CALL THEM CHARISMATIC MEGAFAUNA AND FOR A GOOD REASON.

THAT WAS

ONE OF THE

REAL EXCITING THINGS WAS TO COME

UP AFTER A SCUBA DIVE, HAVING

ENCOUNTERED THIS RARE ANIMAL

FOUND IN THE DEEP OCEAN AND BE

RIGHT HERE

ON

SEATTLE'S

CENTRAL

WATERFRONT

.

>> Narrator: HAD SEATTLE, A PULSING METROPOLIS OF MORE THAN

3.5 MILLION, BECOME A MECCA FOR

SIXGILL SHARKS?

THE VERY IDEA SEEMED IMPOSSIBLE.

>> RIGHT HERE ON

SEATTLE'S CENTRAL

WATERFRONT, PEOPLE

VISITING THE

AQUARIUM COULD BE

STANDING ON THE END OF

THE PIERS AND HAVE

A

12-FOOT

SHARK

STANDING

UNDERNEATH THEM

WITHOUT

THEM EVEN

KNOWING IT. >> Narrator: WHAT MADE THE

ARRIVAL OF THESE CREATURES EVEN

MORE ASTONISHING WAS THE FACT

THAT LARGE PREDATORS THROUGHOUT

THE OCEANS WERE VANISHING.

HUMANS KILL AS MANY AS 270

MILLION SHARKS EACH YEAR.

THAT'S ALMOST EQUAL TO THE

ENTIRE POPULATION OF THE UNITED STATES.

BECAUSE THEY GROW SLOWLY AND

HAVE RELATIVELY FEW OFFSPRING,

THEY CAN'T KEEP PACE WITH THE

DEMAND.

AS A RESULT, SOME SHARK

POPULATIONS HAVE FALLEN BY UP TO

70 PERCENT.

BUT IN PUGET SOUND, THESE

MASSIVE ANIMALS HAD EMERGED

SEEMINGLY OUT OF NOWHERE. AND IN BIG NUMBERS.

>> WE KNEW THERE WERE MORE SHARK

SIGHTINGS GOING ON, BUT WE

DIDN'T KNOW WHAT WAS DRIVING IT.

SPECULATION WAS ALL OVER THE PLACE.

SOME OF THE GUESSES WERE THAT

THE SHARKS WERE FOLLOWING THE

SALMON. CHANGING OCEAN CONDITIONS HAVE BROUGHT THE SHARKS TO US.

POLLUTION HAS DONE SOMETHING WITH THE SHARKS.

>> TODAYS DIVE CAPTAIN.

KATIE IS

GOING TO

BE

THE CAPTAIN.

AND

THAT'S

THE

DIVE

TEAM. >> Narrator: CHRISTIANSEN AND

HIS TEAM AT THE SEATTLE AQUARIUM

WOULD SPEND THE NEXT 15 YEARS

SEARCHING FOR ANSWERS.

THEY WOULD BECOME SOME OF THE

WORLD'S LEADING SIXGILL EXPERTS.

>> BASED ON

WHERE YO

U

ARE.

>> Narrator: ONE THING WAS

CERTAIN: LARGE PREDATORS HAVE

OUTSIZE IMPACTS ON FOOD WEBS AND

WHATEVER THE TEAM LEARNED ABOUT

THESE SHARKS WOULD HAVE

IMPLICATIONS FOR THE GREATER

ECOSYSTEM, AND PERHAPS MORE

IMPORTANTLY, IT COULD INFORM

SHARK CONSERVATION EFFORTS

WORLDWIDE.

BUT SCIENTISTS WEREN'T THE FIRST TO DISCOVER THE SIXGILLS OF

PUGET SOUND.

THE INITIAL SIGHTINGS WERE MADE

BY A DIFFERENT GROUP OF UNDERWATER EXPLORERS.

>> THE DIVE COMMUNITY HAS BEEN

ESSENTIAL FOR THIS RESEARCH FROM

THE VERY GET-GO.

THEY ARE OUR EYES AND EARS, AND THEY ARE BECOMING CITIZEN SCIENTISTS.

>> Narrator: THE NORTHWEST HAS

SOME OF THE FINEST SCUBA DIVING

ON THE PLANET WITH ONE OF THE

GREATEST CONCENTRATION OF

YEAR-ROUND DIVERS.

COLD PACIFIC CURRENTS FEED THIS

LUSH UNDERWATER WORLD.

>> EVERY TIME WE

WENT

O

UT, WE WOUND TO GO

A

LITTLE

BIT

FURTHER, LITTLE BIT

FURTHER,

LITTLE BIT

FURTHER.

AND

SEE

WHAT THERE

WAS

TO

SEE.

##

>> EVERYTHING

JUST

JUST

INCREDIBLY RICHLY

COLORFUL AND

COVERED WITH

LIFE.

##

>> YOU NEVER KNOW

WHAT

YOU'RE

GOING TO

SEE.

>> WE DROPPED DOWN TO

ABOUT 120

FEET.

ALL OF A SUDDEN, WE SAW THIS

HUGE GIANT PACIFIC OCTOPUS COMING TOWARDS US.

HE LOOKE

D

ODD.

WHEN WE

GOT UP

CLOSER TO

HIM, WE

REALIZED HE WAS

MISSING

ALL

EIGHT OF HIS

EGGS

.

WHEN I SAW A SHADOW COMING FROM THE SHALLOW SIDE.

MY HEART STARTED THUMPING.

I HEARD MY BUDDY GOING UH, UH,

UH.

I TURNED TO SEE WHAT WAS THE

MATTER WITH HIM AND THERE WAS A

SHARK RIGHT HERE, COMING RIGHT

THROUGH THE CENTER OF US.

>> IT LOOKED LIKE WATCHING A TRUCK GO UNDERNEATH ME.

THEY ARE THE SIZE OF A GREAT WHITE.

AND I

REALIZED

I

'M

SEEING

MY

FIRST

SIXGILL

SHARK.

>> THEY'RE BIG!

THEY'RE BIG SHARKS.

>> YOU'RE WITH AN ANIMAL THAT IN

SOME CASES IS TWICE THE SIZE OF

YOU.

THAT IF IT CHOSE TO DO SO, COULD

TAKE YOU OUT IN A SECOND AND HAVE YOU FOR LUNCH.

>> IF I TELL SOMEONE ABOUT

INTERACTING WITH SHARKS RIGHT

THERE IN ELLIOTT BAY, PEOPLE ARE

LIKE

NO,

THAT

DOESN'T

EXIST.

YES, IT

DOES. >> Narrator: WORD OF SEATTLE'S

SIXGILL PHENOMENON SOON SPREAD,

WITH DIVERS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS

TRAVELING FROM AROUND THE WORLD

FOR A GLIMPSE OF THESE RARE CREATURES.

>> WHENEVER A DIVER REPORTS THAT

I SAW A SIXGILL, SUDDENLY,

THERE'S AN INFLUX OF DIVERS

HEADING OUT THAT WAY BECAUSE

EVERYBODY WANTS TO SEE THEM.

>> IT SEEMED LIKE EVERY NIGHT, THERE WAS A SIGHTING OF A SIXGILL.

IT SEEMED LIKE YOU COULDN'T GET IN THE WATER AND NOT SEE THEM.

>> YOU WOULD JUST

RUN

INTO

PEOPLE, JUST

SITTING THERE STARING OUT INTO THE WATER

BECAUSE WE'RE ALL LOOKING FOR THE SAME THING, RIGHT?

[LAUGHTER] >> SUDDENLY, THERE'S THIS HUGE MEAT-EATING THING COMING TOWARDS YOU AND THE ADRENALINE JUST COURSES THROUGH YOUR WHOLE BODY.

>> I COULD HEAR MY HEART BEATING

OUT OF ITS CHEST.

YOU WANT TO SEE IT, BUT YOU'RE

AFRAID TO SEE IT.

AND THEN ONCE YOU SEE THEM AND

YOU JUST BECOME FASCINATED WITH

THE WAY THEY'RE SWIMMING AND THAT FEAR JUST GOES AWAY.

NOW ALL OF A

SUDDEN,

IT'S JUST

BLISSFUL, YOU'RE JUST THERE WITH

A BEAUTIFUL SHARK

WATCHING

THEM

SWIM.

>> EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE, YOU'LL

SEE THE EYE, AND IT'LL JUST TURN

AND STARE RIGHT AT THE CAMERA AS

IF THEY'RE SAYING, WHY ARE YOU HERE?

WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

YOU

K

NOW, KIND OF

A

CURIOUS

EXPRESSION.

IT WOULD JUST GIVE ME THAT LOOK

LIKE, WHAT?

>> Narrator: AS SHARK

SIGHTINGS INCREASED, GOVERNMENT

AND UNIVERSITY RESEARCHERS BEGAN

THEIR OWN INVESTIGATIONS.

>> PRETTY MUCH OUT OF NOWHERE,

THIS INFLUX OF SHARKS APPEARED AND WE KNEW NOTHING ABOUT THEM.

WHAT DO THEY EAT?

WE DON'T KNOW.

HOW LONG DO THEY LIVE?

WE DON'T KNOW.

HOW FAST DO THEY GROW?

COULDN'T TELL YOU.

DO THEY STAY IN ONE PLACE OR DO THEY MOVE ALL OVER THE PLACE?

WHO KNOWS.

THIS IS NOT LIKE A TINY ANIMAL.

THIS IS A BIG ANIMAL AND I

COULDN'T EVEN TELL YOU ANYTHING

ABOUT THE BASIC BIOLOGY.

>> Narrator: WHAT IS KNOWN

ABOUT SIXGILLS IS THAT THEY CAN

REACH UP TO 16 FEET IN LENGTH

AND WEIGH MORE THAN 1,000

POUNDS.

THEY TAKE THEIR NAME FROM THE

SIX GILL SLITS ON EACH SIDE OF

THEIR HEAD, A CHARACTERISTIC OF PREHISTORIC SHARKS.

THESE LARGE PREDATORS ROAM THE

DEEP OCEAN, SPENDING THEIR LIVES

IN DARKNESS THOUSANDS OF FEET

BELOW THE SURFACE.

>> THEIR ENTIRE LIFE HISTORY IN

THE DEEP OCEAN IS PRETTY UNDOCUMENTED.

>> Narrator: ALTHOUGH THEY'VE

BEEN FOUND IN OCEANS AROUND THE

WORLD, ENCOUNTERING THEM IN SHALLOW WATER IS EXTREMELY RARE.

>> THERE'S ONLY A HANDFUL OF

LOCATIONS AROUND THE WORLD WHERE

THEY'RE SEEN IN

SHALLOWER

LOCATIONS. >> EARLY ON, THERE WAS SO LITTLE KNOWN THAT WE WANTED TO START WITH JUST BASIC WORK.

WE WERE JUST TRYING TO FIGURE

OUT WHY THEY WERE THERE AND WHAT THEY WERE DOING.

>> Narrator: JUST AS

SCIENTISTS BEGAN DRAWING UP

RESEARCH PLANS, A NEW THREAT

EMERGED FISHERS BEGAN CATCHING

SIXGILLS FROM THE PIERS AROUND

SEATTLE.

>> SOMEBODY PUT A LIGHT ON HIM.

I HAD HEARD AS PART OF MY WEEKLY

FISHING REPORT THAT THERE WAS AN

ANGLER DOWN ON THE SEACREST PIER

IN WEST SEATTLE, RIGHT DOWNTOWN

SEATTLE BASICALLY, THAT HAD LEARNED HOW TO CATCH SIXGILL SHARKS.

BIG ONES!

WE KNEW THAT THEY EXISTED AND

WERE OUT THERE, BUT THEY WERE

KIND OF THIS MYSTERIOUS FISH

THAT NO ONE EVER CAUGHT OR ENCOUNTERED.

SO WHEN HE STARTED CATCHING THEM, IT WAS LIKE, WOW!

THIS IS INTERESTING!

>> WE WROTE A VERY SHORT STORY.

SAYING THIS

GUY

WAS

CATCHING

SHARKS OFF

THE

S

EACREST

PIER. >> THIS IS THE FIRST TIME

SIXGILLS SHARKS REALLY CAME TO

ALMOST EVERYONE'S PUBLIC

ATTENTION HERE IN THE NORTHWEST.

>> THE NEXT MORNING, I RETURNED TO WORK AND MY INBOX WAS LOADED

WITH KIND OF NASTY EMAILS FROM DIVERS.

TURNS OUT SCUBA DIVERS HAD BEEN

SWIMMING WITH THESE SHARKS IN

THE AREA

AND THEY WERE

UPSET

THAT

THIS

G

UY WAS

CATCHING AND

KILLING THESE

SHARKS.

>> HE WAS VERY SUCCESSFUL AT

CATCHING A NUMBER OF SHARKS IN A

VERY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME.

AND AT THAT VERY SAME TIME,

SHARK SIGHTINGS AT THAT DIVE SIGHT DROPPED OFF TO ZERO.

>> VERY LITTLE AS IT TURNS OUT

WAS KNOWN ABOUT THE POPULATION

OF SIXGILL SHARKS IN PUGET SOUND.

AND THEY WERE

WORRIED

THAT

IT

MIGHT LEAD

TO

AN

OVERHARVEST

SITUATION OR MIGHT HARM

THE

POPULATION. AND THEY WERE ANGRY AT ME FOR PUBLICIZING IT.

>> AT THE TIME, IT WAS PERFECTLY LEGAL.

THERE WERE NO FISHERIES

PROTECTIONS OR REGULATIONS ON

THE SIXGILL SHARKS AT ALL IN PLACE.

IT WAS PRETTY MUCH OPEN SEASON ON THEM.

>> Narrator: SCIENTISTS

WORRIED THE SHARKS WOULD BE

FISHED OUT BEFORE THEY HAD A

CHANCE TO STUDY THEM.

AND DIVERS FEARED FISHING WOULD

WIPE THEM OUT COMPLETELY.

ON THE WATERFRONT, RELATIONS

BETWEEN DIVERS AND FISHERS GREW HOSTILE.

>> IT WAS PRETTY TENSE.

THERE WAS A LOT OF NAME CALLING,

IT WAS VERY CONFRONTATIONAL.

>> WHEN THE FISHING OCCURRED, WE

DRAFTED A LETTER TO THE

WASHINGTON

DEPARTMENT OF

FISH AND WILDLIFE ASKING FOR THE

CLOSURE TO THE FISHERY

ON

SIXGILL

SHARKS

. >> THE DIVE COMMUNITY CAME OUT

IN FULL FORCE, AND HUNDREDS, IF

NOT THOUSANDS, OF PEOPLE CALLED

AND SAID, HEY, YOU NEED TO CLOSE THIS FISHERY, THIS ISN'T RIGHT.

>> Narrator: IN THE SUMMER OF

2000, STATE OFFICIALS SUSPENDED

ALL SIXGILL FISHING IN PUGET

SOUND.

WITH PROTECTIONS IN PLACE, THE

AQUARIUM COULD BEGIN ITS

RESEARCH.

BUT ANSWERING EVEN SIMPLE

QUESTIONS WOULD PROVE DIFFICULT.

FOR STARTERS, SCIENTISTS WOULD

HAVE TO FIND THIS LARGE,

FREE-RANGING SHARK IN A WATER

BODY THE SIZE OF RHODE ISLAND.

WHERE DO YOU BEGIN THE SEARCH IN AN AREA THAT BIG?

>> WE HAD DIVED UNDER THE

SEATTLE AQUARIUM FOR MANY, MANY

MANY YEARS AND NEVER SEEN A

SIXGILL SHARK.

[RADIO

CHATTER] >> Narrator: BUT IF FISHERS

COULD CATCH THEM WITH BAIT, MAYBE SCIENTISTS COULD TOO.

THE AQUARIUM RESEARCHERS DECIDED

TO PLACE BAIT IN THE WATER

BENEATH THE AQUARIUM IN HOPES OF

ATTRACTING SHARKS.

IN THE FALL OF 2001, THEY MADE

THEIR FIRST ATTEMPT.

>> WE'VE GOT ABOUT A SEVEN-FOOT

SHARK.

>> SEVEN-FOOT, COPY THAT.

>> SIXGILL SHARK JUST HIT ME IN THE FINS.

SWAM AROUND TO MY LEFT.

>> HAVE THEY LEFT THE AREA?

>> SHARKS ARE HERE.

>> THE SHARKS ARE FEEDING, IS THAT WHAT YOU SAID?

>> HERE'S A SHARK RIGHT HERE

GUYS.

>> WE GOT IT, WE GOT IT.

WE GOT GREAT FOOTAGE.

>> BEFORE THE END OF THE DIVE,

ABOUT 30 MINUTES INTO IT, WE

ALREADY HAD A SIXGILL.

THAT'S HOW MANY THERE WERE HERE.

>> IT'S JUST DIFFICULT TO

EXPLAIN THE AWE YOU FEEL WHEN

YOU'RE UNDERWATER FACING THESE

LARGE ANIMALS SWIMMING IN FRONT OF YOU.

>> IT'S A HEART-THUMPING MOMENT.

>> THAT WAS SO

FUN.

>> JEFF THAT WAS AMAZING!

>> SOMETHING WHACKS ME IN THE

BACK OF THE FINS.

LOOK OFF TO THE LEFT AND THERE'S

THIS BIG TAIL GOING BY.

>> I THINK WE PROVED THE CONCEPT.

>> Narrator: THE BAITINGS WERE

SUCH A SUCCESS, THAT THEY BECAME

THE CORNERSTONE OF THE AQUARIUM'S RESEARCH.

>> LET'S DO OUR LUNG HOSE.

>> CHECK. >> YOU DON'T HAVE TO PUT

IT

ON

UNTIL WE GET

OUT

THERE,

JUST

SO

YOU'LL BE ABLE TO

BREATHE. BUT

I

WANT

YOU

TO MAKE

SURE

THAT IT'S

BREATHING

OKAY.

>> CHECK.

>>

Narrator: THEY

BEGAN

PLACING BAIT IN THE

WATER

BELOW

THE

AQUARIUM AND

HOPING THAT THE

SHARKS WOULD

PICK

UP

THE SCENT. >> THIS WAS

A CHANCE

TO

STUDY

A

SHARK

RIGHT

ON

OUR

DOORSTEP.

WE DIDN'T HAVE TO

GO OUT IN

THE

FIELD, WE

DIDN'T

HAVE

TO

GO TO

THE BOTTOM OF THE

OCEAN, THE

SHARKS WOULD COME

TO

US.

>> LIGHT THREE MAY

BE

SLIGHTLY

ABOVE

BOTTOM. >> ROGER

THAT.

GO

AHEAD

AND

DEPLOY

BAIT. >> Narrator: ATTRACTING

SIXGILLS REQUIRED LOADS OF FOOD.

>> THE

A

CTION IS

REALLY

GOING TO

PICK UP WHEN

THEY

PUT

THAT

INSITE THE

BASKETS. >> FRESH SALMON CARCASSES. SALMON, HALIBUT, MAYBE EVEN DOGFISH.

>> Narrator: AND SOMETIMES THAT BROUGHT UNINVITED GUESTS.

##

VISITORS TO THE AQUARIUM TOOK NOTICE.

>> PEOPLE WOULD SIT THERE IN

FRONT OF THAT SCREEN FOR UP TO

AN HOUR JUST IN HOPES THAT A SHARK WOULD SWIM BY.

AND THAT'S WHEN THE LIGHTBULB

WENT OFF THAT WE REALLY NEED TO SHOWCASE THIS WORK FOR OUR GUESTS AT THE AQUARIUM.

>> Narrator: THE EXHIBIT

WORKED TO DISPEL THE MYTH THAT

SHARKS ARE MAN-EATING MONSTERS.

DESPITE THE SIXGILLS' IMPRESSIVE

SIZE, THEY POSE LITTLE THREAT TO

HUMANS.

NO UNPROVOKED ATTACKS HAVE EVER BEEN RECORDED.

>> AT THE PEAK OF OUR SHARK

RESEARCH, WE HAD UP TO 40

DIFFERENT ANIMALS PRESENT ON A

SINGLE EVENING EVENT.

THIS WAS THE EQUIVALENT OF

HAVING SHARKS DRIVE DOWN THE

STREET TO YOUR LAB AND JUST GO

INTO THE TANKS ON THEIR OWN.

IT WAS GREAT!

>> Narrator: IT SEEMED LIKE

THIS UNPRECEDENTED OPPORTUNITY WOULD GO ON FOREVER.

SCIENTISTS HAD NO WAY OF KNOWING

THAT THEY WERE WERE IN A RACE

AGAINST TIME.

WHILE THE AQUARIUM WAS

CONDUCTING ITS FIRST-OF-A-KIND

RESEARCH, A GROUP OF

RECREATIONAL DIVERS OUT IN PUGET

SOUND BEGAN THEIR OWN INFORMAL

STUDIES OF SIXGILLS.

ROB HOLMAN HAS BEEN DIVING THESE WATERS FOR DECADES.

>> I'VE ALWAYS LOVED SHARKS.

I REMEMBER AS A CHILD READING A

BOOK CALLED SHARK LADY BY

EUGENIA CLARK.

SHE WAS

A

MARINE

BIOLOGIST. READ IT PROBABLY 100 TIMES.

>> Narrator: WHEN HE HEARD OF

THE SIGHTINGS, HE HAD TO SEE FOR HIMSELF.

>> THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEE SUCH A

LARGE CREATURE IS JUST AMAZING.

>> Narrator: AND FOR A FEW

GLORIOUS MONTHS IN 2007, THEY

WERE AMAZED.

>> IN THE BEGINNING, WE MIGHT SEE ONE SHARK IN AN EVENING.

PRETTY SOON WITHIN 20 MINUTES OF

DROPPING IT, WE MIGHT SEE THREE

OR FOUR OR FIVE DIFFERENT

SIXGILLS COMING IN.

ONE TIME, IT WAS JUST CRAZY. WE HAD THEM EVERYWHERE.

>> Narrator: AND THEY

DISCOVERED SOMETHING UNEXPECTED

THEY COULD IDENTIFY INDIVIDUAL SHARKS BY THEIR UNIQUE PERSONALITIES.

>> WE STARTED RECOGNIZING THE

SAME SHARKS COMING BACK OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

WE NAMED THEM BECAUSE WE COULD

TELL WHICH WAS WHICH BECAUSE

THEY HAD DIFFERENT PERSONALITIES AND DIFFERENT MARKS ON THEM.

WE HAD ONE THAT HAD A REALLY

LONG SCAR ON HER SIDE AND TWO

WHITE SPOTS ON HER HEAD.

WE CALLED HER SPOTTY.

SHE WAS VERY DOCILE, VERY

AGREEABLE.

WE ALWAYS LIKED TO SEE SPOTTY.

SPOTTY WAS A GOOD SHARK.

WE HAD ANOTHER ONE THAT WE

CALLED FLUFFY THAT HAD THESE

KIND OF

FLUFFY

SPOTS.

HER ATTITUDE WAS ANYTHING BUT

FLUFFY.

WE CALLED HER THE DEVIL SHARK.

AND WHENEVER SHE CAME BY, WE DID

THE DEVIL SHARK SIGN AND THEN WE KNEW IT WAS FLUFFY WAS COMING.

FLUFFY WAS NOT A SHARK TO BE MESSED WITH.

>> SHE DID A 360 ALL THE WAY

AROUND ME AND THEN SHE TURNED IN

REAL HARD AND I GAVE HER A TAP

ON THE NOSE WITH THE POLE, JUST A LITTLE BUMP.

USUALLY, THAT'S ENOUGH TO SEND THE SHARK OFF.

AND THEY'RE ALMOST LIKE, OH, EXCUSE ME.

AND THEY'LL SWIM OFF IN ANOTHER DIRECTION.

##

YOU KNOW YOU HAVE A BIG SHARK

WHEN YOU PUT YOUR STICK UP

AGAINST THE SHARK TO PUSH IT

AWAY AND THE SHARK DOESN'T MOVE, BUT YOU PUSH YOURSELF AWAY.

THAT'S WHEN YOU KNOW YOU HAVE A BIG ONE.

>> Narrator: AND THE BIGGEST

SIXGILL OF THEM ALL WOULD BECOME

THE FISH OF LEGEND.

>> SHE'S ABOUT 14 FEET LONG.

SHE'S THE GIRTH OF A COUCH.

WE STARTED TO REFER TO HER AS

BLONDE BECAUSE OF

HOW

PRETTY

HER

SKIN

WAS, SHE

WASN'T

SCRATCHED

UP, SHE

WAS

A

SHARK OF

MYTHICAL

PROPORTIONS.

IF SHE WAS NEAR

YOU,

YOU KNEW THERE

WAS SOMETHING IN THE

WATER WITH

YOU.

>> SHE WAS A LOCAL ICON THAT YOU

SAY THE WORD BLONDIE TO A DIVER

WHO'S BEEN DIVING FOR 10 OR 15

YEARS AND THEY'LL KNOW EXACTLY

WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT.

>> Narrator: BLONDIE PATROLLED

THE BAY LIKE SHE WAS IN CHARGE.

>> I HAD ONE EXPERIENCE WITH

BLONDIE WHERE SHE SWAM OUT OF

THE DARKNESS, OUT OF THE DEPTHS.

AND SHE MADE THREE OR FOUR

PASSES AND ONE OF THEM WAS QUITE

CLOSE.

SHE WAS JUST LETTING EVERYBODY

KNOW THAT IF YOU WANT TO DIVE

HERE IN WEST SEATTLE, YOU CAN,

BUT YOU ANSWER TO ME.

>> WHEN BLONDIE WAS IN THE

WATER, SHE WAS THE APEX

PREDATOR.

[RADIO

CHATTER] >> Narrator: LITTLE DID ANYONE

SUSPECT THAT BLONDIE MIGHT ONE

DAY BE KEY TO UNRAVELING THE

MYSTERY OF THE SIXGILL'S SUDDEN

APPEARANCE IN PUGET SOUND.

AS DIVERS CAME TO RECOGNIZE THE

PROMINENT SHARKS, RESEARCHERS AT

THE AQUARIUM WANTED TO IDENTIFY ALL THE LOCAL SIXGILLS.

>> TWO MONTHS OR TWO YEARS

LATER, IF THIS SHARK COMES BACK,

I NEED TO BE ABLE TO SAY, "THIS

IS THE SAME SHARK."

WE CAN'T COUNT THEM IF WE CAN'T IDENTIFY THEM.

SO

WE'RE TAKING

THAT

STANDARD

FISHERIES TAG

AND

ADDING

GEOMETRIC SHAPES TO

IT, SO

THAT

WE

CAN

IDENTIFY

THE

INDIVIDUAL

SHARK. >> WHAT I DID

WAS

A

TRIANGLE, TRIANGLE, TRIANGLE, RECTANGLE.

>> IT LETS US RECOGNIZE

INDIVIDUAL SHARKS QUICKLY AND

FROM A DISTANCE.

THIS GETS PLACED UNDER THE

SHARK'S SKIN AND

STREAMS

AWAY LIKE

THAT.

##

>> THE FIRST

TAG IS TRIANGLE, TRIANGLE, TRIANGLE, RECTANGLE.

>> COPY

THAT

.

TRIANGLE, TRIANGLE, RECTANGLE.

>> Narrator: THE TAGS COULD

HELP SCIENTISTS FIGURE OUT THE

POPULATION SIZE AND HOW IT

CHANGED OVER TIME.

>> HERE SHARKY, SHARKY, SHARKY,

SHARKY.

>> Narrator: DIVERS WAITED FOR

SHARKS TO SWIM CLOSE.

THEN TAGGED THEM AND TOOK TISSUE SAMPLES FOR ANALYSIS.

>> OUR GOAL WAS TO

TAG

AS MANY

SHARKS AS

POSSIBLE, BUT IT WAS

REALLY UP TO THE

SHARKS

WHETHER

THEY

G

OT TAGGED OR NOT.

THEY

HAVE

VERY

TOUGH

SKIN. BUT I

REALLY

HAD

TO

OVERCOME

MY CAUTION FOR NOT WANTING TO

DAMAGE THE SHARK.

YOU HAD TO HIT THEM PRETTY HARD

IN ORDER TO GET THE TAG TO BE

ABLE TO PIERCE THE SKIN AND

>> WE GOT TISSUE ON CIRCLE, CIRCLE, CIRCLE.

>> COPY THAT. VERY NICE.

>> Narrator: WITH TAGS IN

PLACE, THEY BEGAN TO NOTICE SURPRISING BEHAVIORS.

>> WE SAW THAT MANY OF THESE

SHARKS WERE TRAVELING IN SMALL PERSISTENT GROUPS.

TWO OR THREE SHARKS THAT LOOKED

LIKE THEY WERE TRAVELING TOGETHER AT THE SAME TIME.

SHARKS THAT WE SAW IN FEBRUARY, THAT LOOKED LIKE THEY MAY BE THE SAME SHARKS WE SAW IN JUNE.

>> Narrator: SOME SHARK

SPECIES HUNT IN PACKS.

COULD THAT BE WHAT JEFF AND THE

TEAM WERE SEEING?

OUT IN THE SOUND, ANOTHER TEAM

OF INVESTIGATORS BEGAN GATHERING

CLUES ABOUT THE SIXGILL'S

MOVEMENTS.

>> WE COULD

GO

OVER

RIGHT

BY

SALTY'S AND DROP

IN

WHERE

THEY

SAW THEM

LAST

NIGHT. >> Narrator: BIOLOGISTS PHIL LEVIN AND KELLY ANDREWS ARE

EXPERTS IN ANIMAL MOVEMENT.

THEY'D TRACKED SALMON AND OTHER

FISH, BUT NOTHING AS LARGE OR COMPLEX AS A SHARK.

>> THIS WILL

GO DOWN

ABOUT 15

FEET.

AND

LISTEN

IN ON THE

BOTTOM

THERE. >> THESE SHARKS WERE NOT EVEN ON OUR RADAR AS AN IMPORTANT

COMPONENT OF THE PUGET SOUND FOOD WEB.

BUT ONCE FISHERMEN STARTED

CATCHING THEM FROM PIERS AND

DIVERS STARTED SEEING THEM IN 60

FEET OF WATER, IT BECAME PRETTY

CLEAR THAT THEY WERE PRETTY

COMMON AND COULD BE IMPORTANT.

>> RIGHT OVER

THERE,

OKAY? >> Narrator: THEY WANTED TO

UNCOVER WHERE THESE SHARKS LIVED

AND WHAT ROLE THEY PLAYED IN THE

PUGET SOUND ECOSYSTEM.

THEY TEAMED UP WITH STATE FISH

AND WILDLIFE AND UNIVERSITY OF

WASHINGTON RESEARCHERS.

>> SHARK

COMING,

ONE IN

THE

WAITING

ROOM. >> Narrator: THIS WAS THE

FIRST TIME SCIENTISTS IN PUGET

SOUND TRIED TO CATCH AND RELEASE SIXGILLS.

>> WE DIDN'T KNOW WHETHER WE

WERE GOING TO HAVE A HARD TIME

FINDING THESE SHARKS.

AND THEN TO OUR SURPRISE, I

MEAN, WE WERE ABLE TO CATCH

THESE SHARKS PRETTY EASILY.

>> GOT ANOTHER SHARK COMING.

>> SOMETIMES WE WOULD CATCH FOUR

OR FIVE.

>> THERE WAS

ONE

DAY

WHERE

I

REMEMBER WE

CAUGHT

NINE.

AND THOSE WERE ALL IN

DOWNTOWN

SEATTLE.

>> TO BRING UP THIS ANIMAL AND

TO SEE HOW COMMON THEY WERE AND

TO REALIZE THAT WE KNEW NOTHING

ABOUT THEM WAS JUST AN

INCREDIBLE EXPERIENCE.

>> OKAY. LET'S GET A

WEIGHT.

IS THIS

A

FEMALE,

WE

DECIDED? AND ISN'T SHE A BEAUTY?

>> I KNOW.

>> EVERY TIME WE CAPTURE A SHARK

TO TAG IT, WE TOOK ALL SORTS OF

SAMPLES.

WE WOULD MEASURE THE FISH AND

TRY TO GET SOME GENETIC

INFORMATION AND SEE MALES AND

FEMALES.

>> MOST, IF NOT ALL, OF THESE

SHARKS WERE JUVENILES OR SUB-ADULT SHARKS.

ALTHOUGH THEY WERE STILL EIGHT

TO 10 FEET

LONG. I MEAN THESE WERE BIG ANIMALS!

>> WE'RE READY.

DR. KATZ, DR.

KATZ, HANDSOME CHIEF OF SURGERY

AT THE HOSPITAL REACHES FORWARD.

>> Narrator: THEY IMPLANTED

RADIO TRANSMITTERS SO

RESEARCHERS COULD TRACK THE ANIMALS.

## >> YOU'RE A DETECTIVE TRYING TO PIECE TOGETHER LITTLE BITS OF

INFORMATION TO TELL THE STORY OF

THIS ANIMAL'S LIFE.

>> THAT'S

GOOD. DOWN PLEASE.

>> Narrator: SHARKS ARE

RESILIENT CREATURES THAT HEAL

QUICKLY.

AND THESE SIXGILLS WOULD SOON

RETURN TO THEIR OLD HAUNTS.

TO GET A MORE DETAILED PICTURE

OF WHERE THE ANIMALS WERE

HANGING OUT, PHIL AND KELLY USED

A SPECIALIZED UNDERWATER

MICR

OPHONE TO LISTEN FOR THE

SHARKS.

SOME LARGE

SHARKS

ARE

KNOWN

TO TRAVEL

DOZENS OF

MILES

A

DAY.

SO THE

RESEARCHERS

WERE PREPARED

FOR

A LONG

SEARCH.

>> ONCE ONE OF

THOSE

TRANSMITTERS IS

DETECTED,

YOU'LL

HEAR

THIS

TRAIN OF

PINGS. IT'LL GO PING, PING, PING, PING, PING, PING.

>> Narrator: WHAT THEY FOUND

DEFIED ALL EXPECTATIONS.

>> WE WERE SURPRISED AT HOW EASY IT WAS TO FIND A SHARK.

>> WE WOULD PUT OUR BOAT IN THE

WATER, AND

WITHIN

15, 20

MINUTES,

WE

WOULD

HEAR THE PINGING OF A SHARK.

>> Narrator: RESEARCHERS SOON

DISCOVERED SOMETHING STRANGE THE

SHARKS WERE CLUSTERED IN AREAS

ABOUT THE SIZE OF A GOLF COURSE.

>> WE SORT OF EXPECTED WHEN WE

FIRST STARTED THIS WORK TO BE

TRACKING A SHARK THROUGH THE

CHANNEL OF PUGET SOUND

BUT AS IT TURNED OUT, THEY JUST

DID NO

T GO ANYWHERE.

>> RIGHT HERE IN DOWNTOWN

SEATTLE, IN ELLIOTT BAY, THIS

WAS THE

CENTER OF

THE

SIXGILL

SHARK

ABUNDANCE. >> I MEAN RIGHT HERE, RIGHT DOWNTOWN.

BIG SHARKS AND A LOT OF THEM.

WHY ARE THEY HERE?

>> WE WOULD TRACK THESE SHARKS

AND THEY WOULD BASICALLY STAY

WHERE WE FOUND THEM.

THEY WOULD KIND OF MOVE AROUND

THE WATERFRONT OF SEATTLE, BUT THEY WOULDN'T LEAVE.

AND

SOMETIMES

THAT

GOT

MA

NON-NESS

FOR

US

JUST

DRIVING

BACK AND

FORTH.

>> Narrator: RESEARCHERS

BELIEVED THAT PUGET SOUND'S RICH

ECOSYSTEM PLAYED A ROLE IN WHAT THEY WERE SEEING.

>> THERE WAS PROBABLY PLENTY OF FOOD FOR IT TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF.

IT DIDN'T NEED TO GO LONG DISTANCES TO FIND FOOD.

>> Narrator: BUT A SEDENTARY SHARK IS ALSO A VULNERABLE ONE.

>> IT WOULD BE VERY EASY TO WIPE

OUT A SMALL POPULATION.

AND WHEN YOU WIPED IT OUT,

YOU'RE WIPING THE FUTURE

REPRODUCTIVE CAPACITY OF AN

AREA.

>> Narrator: COULD THIS BE WHY THE SHARKS AROUND THE FISHING PIER VANISHED?

>> I THINK

PART OF THE

LESSON FROM THE SIXGILLS IS THAT

MARINE CONSERVATION IS NOT IN

SOME REMOTE AREA IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TROPICS.

WE NEED TO THINK ABOUT CONSERVATION EVERYWHERE.

>> Narrator: WORLDWIDE

CONSUMPTION OF SHARKS HAS BEEN ON A STEADY INCLINE SINCE THE

1950s AND HAS INCREASED MORE

THAN 150 PERCENT SINCE 2000.

ASIA'S APPETITE FOR SHARK FINS

IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST DRIVERS OF

GLOBAL DEMAND.

SHARK FIN SOUP IS A PRIZED DELICACY.

A BOWL CAN COST UPWARDS OF $100

THIS HAS LED TO UNSUSTAINABLE

LEVELS OF FISHING AND WIDESPREAD

POACHING.

MILLIONS OF SHARKS HAVE THEIR

FINS CUT OFF WHILE THEY'RE STILL

ALIVE AND ARE THEN DISCARDED AND

LEFT TO DIE.

SHARKS SIT ATOP THE FOOD WEB.

WHEN THEY DISAPPEAR, THEIR PREY

CAN GROW OUT OF CONTROL.

AND IN TURN, THE ANIMALS THEY

EAT BECOME SCARCE.

A DROP IN SHARK POPULATIONS CAN

DESTABILIZE WHOLE ECOSYSTEMS,

CAUSING FISHERIES TO SHUT DOWN.

ONE-QUARTER OF THE OCEANS' SHARK

AND RAY SPECIES ARE CURRENTLY

THREATENED WITH EXTINCTION.

SIXGILLS ARE NEAR THREATENED.

BUT BECAUSE THEY'RE SO RARELY

SEEN AND LITTLE STUDIED, NO ONE

KNOWS HOW MANY ACTUALLY EXIST.

SHAWN LARSON HAS MADE IT HER

MISSION TO FIND OUT.

LARSON IS A SCIENTIST AT THE

SEATTLE AQUARIUM AND STUDIES THE

GENETICS OF MARINE ANIMALS.

>> I JUST HAD

A COMPLETELY OPEN

MIND BECAUSE I

REALLY

DIDN'T

KNOW WHAT I WAS GOING

TO FIND. >> Narrator: HUMANS HAVE MORE THAN 20,000 GENES.

SIXGILLS ARE BELIEVED TO BE

EQUALLY COMPLEX.

BUT UNLIKE THE HUMAN GENOME,

WHICH HAS BEEN STUDIED

EXTENSIVELY, LITTLE IS KNOWN

ABOUT THIS SHARK'S GENETIC MAKEUP.

>> NOBODY HAS SEQUENCED THE

SIXGILL GENOME, SO WE DON'T KNOW

EXACTLY HOW LARGE IT IS.

>> Narrator: SHAWN WAS THE

FIRST TO ATTEMPT TO CRACK THE

SIXGILL'S GENETIC CODE.

INFORMATION THAT COULD BE USED

TO ESTIMATE SIXGILL POPULATIONS WORLDWIDE.

>> I JUST HAD A COMPLETELY OPEN

MIND BECAUSE I REALLY DIDN'T

KNOW WHAT I WAS GOING TO FIND.

>> Narrator: IN COLD STORAGE

IN SHAWN'S LAB ARE ALL THE

TISSUE SAMPLES THE TEAM GATHERED OVER THE YEARS.

THE HUNDREDS OF SAMPLES ARE THE

KEYS TO UNLOCKING THE SHARK'S

BIOLOGY.

>> WITHIN EACH SHARK, WE GET A

UNIQUE GENETIC SIGNATURE CALLED

THEIR GENETIC FINGERPRINT, WHICH

IS AS UNIQUE AS A HUMAN

FINGERPRINT OR A HUMAN EYE OR

ANYTHING THAT DISTINGUISHES

INDIVIDUALS FROM EACH OTHER.

## >> Narrator: BY LOOKING CLOSELY AT THE GENETIC

FINGERPRINTS, SHAWN NOTICED AN

ASTONISHING PATTERN: MOST OF

THE PUGET SOUND SIXGILLS WERE RELATED.

>> THEY WERE BROTHERS AND

SISTERS OR HALF BROTHERS AND HALF SISTERS.

BASED ON THE LITTLE PIECES OF

THE GENOME WE LOOKED AT, THAT'S WHAT IT'S TELLING US.

>> THEY'RE SIBLINGS, THEY'RE

JUST HANGING OUT TOGETHER, WHICH

IS JUST BIZARRE.

>> Narrator: SCIENTISTS HAD

ALREADY FIGURED OUT THAT MOST OF

THE SHARKS WERE JUVENILES.

AND NOW, THEY'D DISCOVERED THEY

WERE RELATED.

IT ALL POINTED TO ONE THING.

>> OUR REGION MIGHT BE AN

IMPORTANT NURSERY FOR THE

SIXGILL SHARK.

##

>> Narrator: NURSERY AREAS ARE

CRITICAL TO SHARK SURVIVAL.

AND THESE YOUNG SIXGILLS SEEMED

TO BE THRIVING.

PUGET SOUND PROVIDED A SAFE

HAVEN WITH AN ABUNDANT FOOD SUPPLY.

>> THEY PROBABLY STAY IN A

RELATED GROUP BECAUSE THAT'S

WHERE THEY WERE BORN.

BUT THEN OVER TIME, WE WOULD THINK THAT THEY WOULD MOVE AWAY FROM EACH OTHER.

>> Narrator: SOME RESEARCHERS

GUESSED THESE JUVENILES WERE

LEARNING HOW TO FIND FOOD AND SURVIVE FROM EACH OTHER.

>> A LOT OF ANIMALS THAT STAY

TOGETHER GET BENEFITS.

IF THEY'RE IN A GROUP, THEY GET

BENEFITS FROM GROUP PROTECTION.

A GROUP OF ANIMALS WITH MULTIPLE

EYES AND MULTIPLE SENSES IS ABLE

TO FIND FOOD BETTER THAN AN

INDIVIDUAL.

SO MAYBE THEY'RE BENEFITING THAT WAY BY STAYING IN A GROUP TOGETHER.

>> Narrator: OR SHARKS MAY

SIMPLY ENJOY SPENDING TIME

TOGETHER.

SHARKS HAVE LONG BEEN THOUGHT OF

AS SOLITARY KILLING MACHINES,

BUT NEW RESEARCH HAS REVEALED

THAT WHEN CERTAIN SPECIES OF

SHARK CLUSTER IN LARGE GROUPS.

THEY DO SO NOT ONLY FOR

SURVIVAL, BUT BECAUSE THEY'RE

SOCIAL CREATURES SEEKING COMPANIONSHIP.

ONE THING STILL PUZZLED THE

RESEARCHERS.

IF THE SIXGILLS WERE BORN HERE,

WHY HADN'T

ANYONE

SEEN

BABIES

OR

PREGNANT

FEMALES? THEN IN THE SPRING OF 2007, THEY GOT ANOTHER CLUE.

A BIG ONE.

>> THIS 14-FOOT-LONG SHARK WAS

ON THE BEACH.

AND THAT'S WHEN YOU REALLY

UNDERSTAND, OH WOW, THOSE WERE

JUST BABIES THAT WE WERE TAGGING

AND NOW HERE'S THIS 14-FOOT LONG

SHARK ON THE BEACH, THAT'S WHAT

AN ADULT LOOKS LIKE.

>> THAT WAS THE

FIRST

THING

THAT

POPPED INTO

MY

MIND,

I

HOPE

THAT'S NOT

BLONDIE.

>> Narrator: THE SHARK'S SIZE

AND COLORING LED SOME DIVERS TO CONCLUDE IT WAS BLONDIE.

>> AS SOON AS I SAW THE NEWS

FOOTAGE, I KNEW IT WAS HER

YOU COULD

TELL. >> Narrator: CLOSER

EXAMINATION REVEALED AN EVEN BIGGER SECRET.

>> AND THERE

WAS

82,

I

THINK,

THREE-FOOT LONG PUPS IN

IT.

JUST STACKED LIKE SARDINES.

AMAZING!

>> THIS WAS OBVIOUSLY A VERY

PREGNANT FEMALE, ABOUT READY TO GIVE BIRTH.

THERE WERE SEVERAL PUPS ON THE BEACH NEXT TO HER.

>> WE THINK SHE PROBABLY HAD

EXPENDED A LOT OF ENERGY, SHE

WAS READY TO GIVE BIRTH, AND

THEN THE TIDE JUST WENT OUT AND

SHE GOT STUCK ON THE BEACH AND DIED.

>> Narrator: NONE OF THE PUPS SURVIVED.

THEY WERE BROUGHT TO THE BURKE MUSEUM AT THE UNIVERSITY OF

WASHINGTON TO BE STUDIED.

>> SO THE FIRST THING WE'RE

GOING TO DO IS GET A GOOD LENGTH MEASUREMENT.

>> 660 MILLIMETERS.

>> Narrator: MOST SHARK

SPECIES HAVE ONLY A HANDFUL OF

BABIES.

BUT SIXGILLS ARE THE EXCEPTION.

>> SO THE COOL THING ABOUT THESE

GUYS IS THE NUMBER OF PUPS A

FEMALE CAN HAVE.

UP TO 108 PUPS PER LITTER.

WHICH IS JUST INCREDIBLE!

>> Narrator: TISSUE SAMPLES

INDICATED THAT THE MOTHER HAD

LIKELY COME FROM SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA OR MEXICO.

>> THE FACT THAT THERE WAS AN

ADULT COMING INTO PUGET SOUND

AND THAT SHE WAS PREGNANT, JUST

SHOWED US THAT, YES, THIS IS A

NURSERY GROUND.

>> IF A COUPLE OF FEMALES CAME

IN, EACH OF THEM HAD 80 OR 100

PUPS, WE COULD'VE HAD SEVERAL

HUNDRED SHARKS JUST FROM THOSE

COUPLE OF FEMALES.

>> Narrator: IT WAS A

REMARKABLE DISCOVERY THAT SEEMED

TO CONFIRM SCIENTISTS'

SUSPICIONS.

PREGNANT SIXGILLS WERE COMING IN

FROM THE OPEN OCEAN TO GIVE

BIRTH.

THIS MEANT PUGET SOUND COULD BE

THE WORLD'S FIRST KNOWN BIRTHING

GROUNDS AND NURSERY FOR

SIXGILLS.

SCIENTISTS DON'T KNOW HOW MANY

MORE OF THESE NURSERIES MIGHT

EXIST.

BUT THEY SAY IDENTIFYING AND

PROTECTING THEM IS ESSENTIAL TO

THE SURVIVAL OF SHARK SPECIES WORLDWIDE.

THE PRESENCE OF SO MANY JUVENILE

SHARKS WAS A BOON FOR RESEARCH.

THE ANIMALS SEEMED READY TO

YIELD EVEN MORE OF THEIR

LONG-HELD SECRETS.

AND THEN IN THE SPRING OF 2008, EVERYTHING CHANGED.

>> WE COULD NOT CATCH A SINGLE

SHARK.

WE WERE QUITE SURPRISED.

WE WENT FROM SEEING 40 SHARKS AT

A SHARK RESEARCH EVENT TO MAYBE

SEEING THREE SHARKS, OR TWO

SHARKS, OR EVEN ONE OR ZERO

SHARKS.

THIS WAS A CHANGE.

A BIG CHANGE.

WE WERE STILL EXPECTING TO BE UP

TO OUR ARMPITS IN SHARKS.

>> THIS WAS WORRYING.

>> AT THE SAME TIME THAT WE SAW

A DECLINE, THE SAME THING WAS

HAPPENING IN THE DIVING COMMUNITY.

SO SHARKS THROUGHOUT THE SYSTEM WERE DISAPPEARING.

>> IT WAS PRETTY QUICK, IT WAS SUDDEN.

THERE WAS JUST A DROP OFF OF SIGHTINGS.

OR REPORTED

SIGHTINGS. >> Narrator: WHAT HAD CAUSED

THE SHARKS TO SUDDENLY VANISH?

IN FACT, THIS WASN'T THE FIRST

TIME LARGE NUMBERS OF SIXGILLS

HAD GONE MISSING.

JUST A FEW YEARS BEFORE THE

SEATTLE DISAPPEARANCE, A

POPULATION OF SIXGILLS AROUND

VANCOUVER ISLAND VANISHED IN

SIMILAR FASHION.

THE COASTAL WATERS OF BRITISH

COLUMBIA ARE SOME OF THE RICHEST

AND MOST BIODIVERSE IN THE WORLD.

FEW PEOPLE KNOW THAT BETTER THAN

ROB ZIELINSKI AND HIS WIFE AMANDA.

THEY RUN A DIVE BUSINESS OFF THE

EAST COAST OF VANCOUVER ISLAND.

ROB'S FAMILY PIONEERED DIVING IN

THESE PARTS.

>> I STARTED DIVING WHEN I WAS

ABOUT SEVEN OR EIGHT YEARS OLD.

I GREW UP IN A DIVING FAMILY AND

AS SOON AS I WAS ABLE TO HANDLE

THE EQUIPMENT, I STARTED DIVING

AND OPERATING BOATS, AND I'VE BEEN DOING THAT MY WHOLE LIFE.

>> Narrator: IN THE 1970s,

THE ZIELINSKIS WERE AMONG THE

FIRST TO DISCOVER THAT SIXGILLS WERE FREQUENTING THESE WATERS.

##

##

>> THIS IS FLORA ISLET, WHERE HE

HAD THE MAJORITY OF OUR SIXGILL SIGHTINGS OVER THE YEARS.

I PERSONALLY GOT TO SEE MANY

DOZENS, IF NOT HUNDREDS OF

SHARKS HERE OVER THE YEARS.

>> ON MY FIRST

DIVE,

I

SAW

THREE.

AND THE NEXT DIVE, I SAW SEVEN.

AND IT WAS JUST LIKE THAT, ALL THE TIME.

IT WAS COMMON AND EASY TO DO.

YOU WOULD PUT ON YOUR STUFF AND

DROP DOWN TO 70 FEET AND THEY

WOULD BE THERE.

THIS IS IT.

THE SHARKS WOULD HAVE BEEN RIGHT UNDER THE BOAT.

>> Narrator: THIS IS ONE OF

THE FEW PLACES OUTSIDE OF PUGET

SOUND WHERE DIVERS COULD

ENCOUNTER SIXGILLS.

THE SHARKS, WHICH WERE ALSO

MOSTLY JUVENILES, BECAME A CELEBRATED ATTRACTION.

>> FOR THE BUSINESS, IT WAS A BI

G DRAW.

I MEAN, IT WAS A VERY SPECIAL

THING TO BE ABLE TO COME AND SWIM WITH A SIXGILL.

>> WE WOULD USUALLY

SAY

TO OUR

GROUPS THAT

ON ANY

GIVEN

DAY, ON ANY GIVEN DIVE, SOMEONE WOULD HAVE A VERY GOOD CHANCE OF SEEING ONE.

>> APRIL 1999,

SIXGILL

SHARK

GET

AWAY.

>> Narrator: PEOPLE WOULD

TRAVEL FROM AROUND THE WORLD FOR A GLIMPSE OF THESE SHARKS.

BUT BY THE MID-2000s, THE ODDS

WERE NO LONGER IN THE DIVERS' FAVOR.

>> OUR SIGHTINGS JUST STARTED DECLINING.

SORT OF A SLOW, STEADY DECLINE.

AND THEN QUITE ABRUPTLY, OUR

SIGHTINGS JUST DROPPED RIGHT OFF.

WE STILL SEE THE ODD ANIMAL, BUT IT'S NOT CLOSE TO THE ABUNDANCE THAT WE DID BEFORE.

>> Narrator: SOME SPECULATE

THE SHARKS WERE A CASUALTY OF

COMMERCIAL FISHING, OTHERS THINK

CHANGES TO THE MARINE

ENVIRONMENT MAY BE TO BLAME.

BUT NO ONE KNOWS FOR CERTAIN.

>> IT WOULD BE WONDERFUL TO

START SEEING THEM AS DIVERS

AGAIN, BUT MY BIGGEST HOPE WOULD

BE THAT THEY'RE ACTUALLY STILL

ALIVE.

AS

A

SPECIES

IN THIS

AREA,

THAT

WE HAVEN'T JUST

COMPLETELY

WIPED THEM OUT

OF

THIS

AREA AND THEY'VE CEASED TO EXIST.

>> Narrator: WHAT HAPPENED TO

THE SIXGILLS OF THE NORTHWEST?

THEIR DISAPPEARANCE REMAINED A

MYSTERY.

BACK IN SEATTLE, RESEARCHERS

PHIL LEVIN AND KELLY ANDREWS

SCOURED THE TRACKING DATA FOR ANSWERS.

>> AND EVERY TIME WE'D LAUNCH

THE BOAT, WE'D PUT OUR RECEIVERS

IN AND WE'D GET PINGS FROM THE

SHARKS IN THIS AREA.

PRETTY MUCH EVERY SINGLE ONE OF

OUR TRACKS IS GOING RIGHT ALONG THE WATERFRONT AND BACK.

RIGHT ALONG THE WATERFRONT AND BACK.

>> NOT SO MUCH

ACROSS,

RIGHT? >> YEAH, NOTHING THROUGH THE MIDDLE. IT'S ALWAYS RIGHT ALONG THE EDGES OF THE BAY.

>> Narrator: THEY TRACED THE

PATH OF THE ANIMALS THAT

GATHERED AROUND SEATTLE'S

WATERFRONT.

AND NOTICED A SUDDEN AND

DRAMATIC CHANGE IN BEHAVIOR

IN

THE

MID-2000s

.

>> AT FIRST, WE'RE SEEING

MOVEMENTS FROM HERE TO HERE, AND

NOW, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT IN THE

SPACE OF JUST A FEW WEEKS

REALLY, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT GOING FROM HERE ALL THE WAY OUT.

TO THE

STRAITS,

WHICH

ENDS UP

LEADING TO THE

OCEAN.

>> YEAH. THEY WERE CLEARLY GOING FASTER THAN BEFORE. AND IN MUCH MORE OF A STRAIGHT LINE.

THEY WEREN'T JUST MEANDERING, THEY WERE SWIMMING SOMEPLACE.

>> YOU KNOW, THAT WAS SORT OF

OUR FIRST HINT THAT, WHOA, SOMETHING JUST HAPPENED WITH THESE SHARKS.

>> Narrator: THE SHARKS STARTED SWIMMING GREATER DISTANCES.

IT WAS AS IF THEY WERE BUILDING

UP FOR A LONG JOURNEY.

THEN, ONE BY ONE, THEY HEADED

NORTH OUT OF SEATTLE AND AWAY

FROM CENTRAL PUGET SOUND, TO THE STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA AND THEN OUT TO THE OCEAN.

>> SOME TURNED LEFT AND WENT

DOWN TO CALIFORNIA.

SOME TURNED RIGHT AND WENT UP TO BRITISH COLUMBIA.

BUT IT WAS CLEAR THAT THEY WERE

OFF ONTO THEIR ADULT LIFE IN THE

PACIFIC OCEAN.

>> Narrator: THE EXODUS

CONTINUED FOR SEVERAL MONTHS

UNTIL ALL THE TAGGED SHARKS WERE GONE.

>> WE SORT OF ENDED OUR RESEARCH

BECAUSE THERE WERE NO ANIMALS TO

CATCH AND EASILY DO THIS WORK

ON.

>> Narrator: PHIL AND KELLY

BELIEVE THAT WHEN THE YOUNG

SIXGILLS REACHED A CERTAIN SIZE,

SOMETHING TRIGGERED THEM TO

LEAVE PUGET SOUND AND VENTURE INTO THE OPEN OCEAN.

>> BASICALLY, THEY GO OFF THE

CONTINENTAL SHELF AND GO INTO

DEEP WATERS, A THOUSAND, 2,000,

3,000 METERS DEEP.

AND WE

THINK

THIS

GROUP OF BABIES WERE GROWING UP IN PUGET

SOUND, AND AS THEY LEFT PUGET

SOUND, THERE WEREN'T MORE TO REPLACE THEM.

>>

Narrator:

THE

DISCOVERY

PROVIDED A

POSSIBLE

EXPLANATION

FOR WHY

SHARKS

DISAPPEARED,

NOT

JUST

FROM PUGET

SOUND, BUT

FROM

VANCOUVER ISLAND A

S

WELL.

>> THIS MAY BE A TOTALLY NATURAL

PATTERN WHERE THE ADULTS COME IN

AND GIVE BIRTH IN LARGE NUMBERS

AND THEN DON'T RETURN FOR SEVERAL YEARS.

>> Narrator: THERE'S

COMPELLING EVIDENCE THAT THIS IS

THE CASE.

BUT UNTIL SHARKS RETURN, QUESTIONS WILL REMAIN.

>> IT'S REALLY A QUESTION

AS TO

WHETHER THESE

ANIMALS WILL BE COMING

BACK TO THE

SAME

WATERS THAT THEY GREW

UP

IN

TO

GIVE

BIRTH.

THAT WOULD BE A FANTASTIC PIECE TO ADD TO THE PUZZLE.

>> THEY WILL COME BACK.

I JUST DON'T KNOW WHEN.

>> Narrator: IT'S BEEN NEARLY

A DECADE SINCE DIVERS REGULARLY

ENCOUNTERED SIXGILLS IN THESE

WATERS, BUT PEOPLE LIKE ROB

HOLMAN CONTINUE TO SEARCH.

>> IT WILL BE A

CHILLY

ONE.

[BOAT

ENGINE] >> WHICH WAY ARE WE DRIFTING?

KIND OF

DRIFTED

IN,

AREN'T

WE?

>> IT'S THE WIND THAT

WE'VE

G

OT TO BE

CONCERNED WITH >> YEAH, SO I NEED TO GET OUT A LITTLE BIT.

THERE HAVE BEEN

A

FEW

SIXGILL

SIGHTINGS AT

ONE OF

THE DIVE

SITES IN THE NEARBY

AREA. SO WE ARE

A

LITTLE

BIT DOWN CURRENT OF

THAT,

SO

WE'RE

HOPING

TO DRAW SOME

IN.

>> WHAT DO YOU THINK

THE

CHANCES

ARE OF SEEING

A

SIXGILL

TONIGHT. I GIVE IT

ABOUT

50/50,

YEAH.

##

>> OUT OF THE CORNER OF

MY

EYE, I SAW

A

LIGHT

FLASHING,

AND

I

BELIEVE IT WAS MY

BUDDY

JEFF

KIND OF

POINTING OUT THAT THERE WAS

A SHARK

COMING

IN.

YOU COULD SEE GAINED

KIND

OF

A

GHOSTLY SHAPE COMING IN

AND

WORKING ITS WAY

TOWARD

THE CHUM

PILE. ##

IT

WASN'T

ONE OF

THE

BIG

HEALTHY

GA

GOLIATHS, BUT IT WAS

A

REAL

HEALTHY

SHARK.

AND IT JUST CAME

IN,

CIRCLED,

AND IT

LEFT.

I

THINK

WE

HAD

LIKE

THREE

OR FOUR

SIGHTINGS OVER THE

COURSE OF THE

EVENING.

AND IT MAY HAVE

BEEN

TWO

OR

THREE DIFFERENT

SHARKS. ##

IT'S JUST LIKE,

WOW,

IT

WORKED.

IT STILL

WORKS. ##

>> AWESOME. >> THAT LITTLE GUY

WAS

CUTE. >> Narrator: DIVERS HAVE BEEN

REPORTING NEW SIGHTINGS AROUND PUGET SOUND.

>> IT'S NICE TO SEE

THEM

AGAIN. IT'S BEEN SUCH

A

DRY

PERIOD FOR SO

LONG.

PEOPLE WEREN'T SEEING THEM THAT

MUCH.

AND IT'S JUST, IT WAS

ENCOURAGING TO SEE THEM COME BACK IN.

##

>> Narrator: IT'S TOO SOON TO

SAY IF A NEW GENERATION OF

SIXGILLS HAS EMERGED.

BUT RECENT SIGHTINGS HAVE STIRRED HOPE.

>> IT'S INCREDIBLY ENCOURAGING.

THERE WERE A COUPLE SIGHTINGS

AND EVERYBODY'S GETTING THEIR

GEAR TOGETHER AND HEADING BACK

OUT.

I

DID.

##

>> ARE WE JUST STARTING TO SEE

THE EARLY PHASE OF ANOTHER BATCH

OF SHARKS MOVING IN?

I'M HOPEFUL, BUT I'M SKEPTICAL

UNTIL THE NUMBERS

SUPPORT

IT.

>> Narrator: THE STORY OF THE

SIXGILLS IS THE STORY OF THE

OCEANS THEMSELVES AND HOW MUCH

WE HAVE LEFT TO LEARN.

FOR IF A SHARK THIS LARGE CAN

HIDE IN THE HEART OF A MAJOR

CITY, WHAT OTHER WONDERS LIE

BENEATH THE SURFACE?

WITH SHARKS AND OTHER CREATURES

RAPIDLY

DISAPPEARING, WILL

WE

DISCOVER THEIR

SECRETS

BEFORE

IT'S TOO

LATE?

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ת')@ Captions byRegis Realtime, Inc[email protected] Olympia, Washingtonת regisrealtime@hotmail.com

תתת'

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MADE WHILE CA

The Description of Wildlife Detectives: Mystery Sharks of Seattle