Sharks wash ashore at Dog Beach in Ocean Beach

Posted at 9:53 AM, Feb 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-01 08:30:49-05

SAN DIEGO - A local beachgoer spotted four dead leopard sharks early Tuesday morning on a beach in Ocean Beach.

Charli Brand told 10News she was walking her dog at Dog Beach at around 6 a.m. when she saw that four dead sharks had washed ashore.

"I kind of saw an outline, and I was like, 'That looks like a shark,'" Brand said. "And I look over, and I see a second one, and I say, 'Wow, there's two of these.' Look again, there's a third, and I end up seeing a fourth."

Birch Aquarium officials say this is not the first time sharks have washed up in the area after a big storm. While they can't pinpoint the exact cause of death yet, they say it's likely because of pollution or the sudden rush of fresh water from the rain that causes oxygen concentrations in the water to drop -- basically suffocating the sharks.

Brand said neither reason is comforting.

"As a surfer, I want to know if it's the pollution," she said. "And what's sad is the leopard sharks are super friendly, they're really nice. They won't hurt you."

Brand was also shocked by the trash that washed up with the sharks and hopes the pictures she took remind everyone to take care of the ocean and the creatures in it.

"The trash was startling," Brand said. "We live in such a beautiful place and we are so lucky to be here, that people need to respect the environment and leave it cleaner than you find it."