Joshua Watts, representing Uuathluk as well as Nuu-chah-nulth nations in the Alberni Valley region of Vancouver Island, waits to board Canadian Coast Guard ship John P. Tully for a two-week expedition with pacific seamounts 2019. INSTAGRAM PHOTO

VIDEO: Salmon shark treats scientists to surprising behaviour off Island’s west coast

Scientists, students treated to ‘surprising’ behaviour from shark

For a brief moment this week, the waters off Port Alberni became the salmon shark capital of Canada.

Scientists and students aboard an Oceans Network Canada expedition to explore pacific seamounts off the west coast of Vancouver Island had a rare sighting of a salmon shark on July 23.

Scientist Dr. Cherisse Du Preez and Joshua Watts, one of two Nuu-chah-nulth people aboard the vessel, spotted the two-metre, male salmon shark.

“We noticed it started brushing itself along this log over and over again,” Watts said in a video released by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

“It looked like it was aiming for this big clump of barnacles,” Du Preez said. “It would heave its body out of the water and slide at the log.”

The shark had parasites visible on its dorsal fin. “It’s really interesting to see these logs out at sea may be scratching posts for them to rid themselves of parasites,” Du Preez said.

“As far as I know, this footage doesn’t exist elsewhere.”

Crew members reportedly watched the salmon shark for half an hour. “It was incredible,” Watts said.

Watts and Aline Carrier from Nuu-chah-nulth nations in Port Alberni boarded the coast guard ship John P Tully on July 17 to join the expedition for two weeks. They represent Uuathluk

READ MORE: Port Alberni: Canada’s Ultimate Fishing Town

Port Alberni boasts of being the Salmon Capital of Canada, and was crowned Canada’s Ultimate Fishing Town in 2012.

To watch the livestream of the Pacific seamounts expedition 2019 and learn more about what they’re finding, click here.

 

Scientist Cherisse Du Preez, left, and Uuathluk’s Joshua Watts talk about their close-up encounter with a salmon shark while on Ocean Networks Canada’s pacific seamounts 2019 expedition. SCREEN GRAB

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