A small shark rescued from a fishing gear tangle at Mission Bay’s Marina Village has returned to the great open ocean.
The pregnant grey smooth-hound shark was found stranded and caught up in fishing gear on Sept. 30 with shallow wounds to her snout, abdomen and below her dorsal fin.
“When our rescue team arrived and we saw it, we noticed that there was damage from fishing line and it actually had a fishing lure hook stuck in it,” said Mike Price, SeaWorld’s assistant curator of fishes.
SeaWorld teams took her from the Marina Village waters to the park. Using ultrasound and X-rays, they discovered she was carrying several pups, though it’s unclear how far along she was.
Price said the finding put the veterinarians on more of a “taking care of mom mode.”
The 3 ½-foot, 20-pound shark, nicknamed Marina, got some much needed rest and relaxation while under the watch of veterinarians.
One week after her rescue, aquarium specialists deemed the shark healthy enough to return to the ocean. On Wednesday, Marina was set free to swim among the kelp bed of Point Loma.
“This is us giving her a second chance at life. Sharks play a very important role in their ecosystems, so the more we can help out apex predators like sharks, the better for the environment (as a) whole,” said Price.
Smooth-hound sharks are often spotted around the coast of Southern California and Northern Mexico. They favor shallow waters with muddy or sandy bottoms where they can find their favorite foods: lobsters, crab or other crustaceans, according to Fishbase.org.