The Gazette

Starfish wash up on shores

- By JOANNE WELFORD @joannewelf­ord

PICTURES of starfish washed up on a beach have been posted online just days after people raised concerns about a large wash-up of razor clam shells and black sediment on a neighbouri­ng stretch of sands.

Former Redcar MP Anna Turley has shared an image she took while walking on the sands between Redcar and Marske on Tuesday, showing three of the sea creatures lying on the sand. In 11 years of living on Teesside, said Anna, she has never seen starfish on the beach – apart from twice in the last month.

“Another walk on the beach – another picture of ecocide off the Teesside coast. This between East Redcar and Marske right now,” she said in her Tweet.

Her post was viewed 12,000 times by social media users, one of whom said she had also spotted 12 starfish on the beach on the same afternoon.

The Teesside coastline has seen some high tides recently and this was explained as the likely reason for a wash-up of coal deposit and a large number of razor clam shells at

Saltburn last weekend. Dog walkers and people on the beach reported a 150m area of sand, north of the pier, that was littered with “thousands” of razor clams and black sediment and reported the issue to the Environmen­t Agency.

Environmen­t Agency officers confirmed they investigat­ed the incident and say the substance was a coal deposit – not unusual along the North-east coastline. High spring tides and heavy seas, said the authoritie­s, were likely to be the reason for the wash-up and the large numbers of razor clam shells.

But one dog walker, a regular beach goer, said she too thought at first it might have been sea coal. But, she said she has never seen such a large amount before nor so many razor clam shells, even after storms.

There also wasn’t any debris on the sand to suggest rough seas were the cause, she said.

The Environmen­t Agency has confirmed it has not received any direct reports of starfish wash-ups.

However, said the authority, it does often happen during high tides with a swell that has been seen recently along Teesside’s coastline.

Starfish are quite easy to dislodge from the substrate they are attached to during stormy conditions, said an Environmen­t Agency spokesman, as they tend to reside in shallow waters.

Members of the public are encouraged to report anything unusual in watercours­es, says the agency.

On Teesside, it receives an average of three reports a month.

Teesside’s beaches have been at the centre of a government probe and ongoing controvers­y following a mass crustacean die off in October 2021.

Dead crabs, lobsters and all manner of shellfish began to wash up in huge numbers, leading to a campaign to find out the cause.

An initial Defra report blamed the most likely cause on a naturally occurring algal bloom but further investigat­ion, published earlier this year, 2023, ruled a “novel pathogen” was the most likely cause.

 ?? ?? Former Redcar MP Anna Turley posted this photo of starfish washed up on the beach between Redcar and Marske
Former Redcar MP Anna Turley posted this photo of starfish washed up on the beach between Redcar and Marske

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom