‘Apocalyptic’: Dead crabs litter the beaches of North East England | North of England
An investigation is underway to find out why thousands of dead crabs and lobsters have washed up on the Tees Estuary and nearby northeastern beaches in recent weeks.
Countless crustaceans have been found, with particularly high numbers at Marske and Saltburn, and the first sightings were reported in early October at Seaton Carew, Redcar and further north at Seaham.
Tory Redcar MP Jacob Young raised the issue with ministers. It was “deeply worrying that this appears to be continuing on our coastline,” he told the Northern Echo.
Former Redcar MP Anna Turley tweeted: “What’s going on? It’s getting apocalyptic.”
A resident, Carl Clyne, first spotted dozens of dead crabs on Seaton Carew beach in early October, telling the Hartlepool Mail: “There were dead crabs in every rocky basin and many of them along. of the waterline among the algae.
The people of Marske have described the beach scene this week as the worst they have ever seen, with piles of dead and decaying creatures, as well as living creatures, mixed with seaweed, ChronicleLive reported. Some residents spent hours trying to get living creatures back into the water.
While environmentalists have expressed concerns about the ecosystem, the local fishing industry has reported a 95% drop in lobster and crab catches, according to ITV News Tyne Tees.
In a statement, the Environment Agency (EA) said it was working with the Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) and the North Eastern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority to try to establish the reason. .
“Samples of water, sediment, mussels and crabs have been collected and are sent to our laboratories for analysis to determine if a pollution incident could have contributed to the death of the animals,” a spokesperson said. . “We also shared samples with CEFAS laboratories for disease analysis. “
A cause has not yet been determined. Significant mortality events can be caused by localized pollution and unusual weather events such as large storms, as well as epidemics.
The EA believes that there is no evidence at this stage to link the crab deaths to recent strandings of marine mammals and seabirds in the UK and neighboring countries.
A marine life pathologist at Teesside University, Dr Jamie Bojko, told ITV News Tyne Tees this month that he believes an event was likely to be the cause. “My best guess at the moment would be that this is something that is a singular event, especially since we’ve seen so many people show up at the same time,” he said.
CEFAS said investigations were ongoing, but at present there was no information to explain the deaths.
Research suggests that underwater power cables can interfere with crab behavior. Responding to suggestions that a new interconnect cable between Northumberland and Norway could be responsible, the National Grid said in a statement that it was not aware of such cables harming crabs because they were well buried. in the seabed, made of steel and unlikely to be broken. by wildlife.