OCEAN CITY — While the details remain unclear, it appears a beached hammerhead shark birthed two or three pups on the beach in north Ocean City early Monday morning before dying and eventually washing ashore in neighboring Fenwick Island.
It is unclear if the large hammerhead was caught by surf anglers or washed ashore deceased, but what is known is the shark birthed two or three healthy pups that were returned safely to the ocean. Witnesses report the pups were fine and swam off in the ocean.
The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) and the Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) on Monday confirmed the hammerhead did have pups on the beach in north Ocean City early this morning. National Aquarium officials also reported they were contacted by the NRP early on Monday to consult with officials on the beach on how to handle the beached shark, but did not respond in a rescue capacity after learning the hammerhead was already deceased.
NRP Public Information Officer Candy Thompson outlined the sequence of events as her agency knows it according to its dispatch center log. At 1:22 a.m., a report of a hammerhead shark giving birth along the shoreline came in and was reportedly observed by a witness and police officers. National Aquarium staff advised at 1:42 a.m. the shark should be left near the shoreline. At 2:09 a.m. it was determined the shark was dead.
OCPD Public Information Officer Lindsay Richard said, “Officers responded to 145th Street and the beach at 12:50 this morning. The shark was giving birth at the time of the call, however, when officers arrived it appeared to be dead. The National Aquarium in Baltimore was contacted but did not respond to pick it up. The shark eventually washed back out to sea shortly after …”
A hammerhead measuring 10 feet in length was found floating in the surf in nearby Fenwick Island later on Monday morning. It’s a safe assumption to conclude it’s the same shark and it was buried near the dune line this morning. More details will be provided when they become available.
If anyone knows of any Good Samaritans who were involved in the birth of the pups or witnessed it, please email [email protected] or message us here.