Masses Of Sea Creatures Wash Up On Beach After UK’s Freezing Weather
Masses of creatures, including starfish, crab, mussels and lobsters, have been washed up on the coast of the UK following Storm Emma and the recent drop in temperatures.
Tens of thousands of creatures are piled up in places along the North Sea coast of the UK, including Holderness coast in Yorkshire.
Similar mass mortality has been reported in other parts of the UK, including Kent and Norfolk.
Bex Lynam, from the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, told The Guardian:
There was a 3C drop in sea temperature last week which will have caused animals to hunker down and reduce their activity levels.
This makes them vulnerable to rough seas – they became dislodged by large waves and washed ashore when the rough weather kicked in.
Larger animals such as dolphins are more mobile and can save themselves by swimming away when this sort of thing happens.
The casualties are mostly invertebrates though some fish were also found.
All of the organisms piled up on the shores were dead, except for some of the lobsters.
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust worked alongside local fisherman to rescue the surviving lobsters – they collected them in buckets before taking them to tanks in Bridlington.
The aim is to put them back into the sea once the weather improves.
This area is very important for shellfish and we work alongside fisherman to promote sustainable fisheries and protect reproductive stocks.
It’s worth saving them so that they can be put back into the sea and continue to breed.
Dr Lissa Batey, senior living seas officer, at the Wildlife Trust, said:
We can’t prevent natural disasters like this, but we can mitigate against declining marine life and the problems that humans cause by creating enough protected areas at sea and by ensuring that these sites are large enough and close enough to offer fish, crustaceans, dolphins and other marine life the protection they require to withstand natural events such as this.
Holderness inshore waters are already designated as a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) and the government is due to announce a consultation into more MCZs this year.
Yet despite an £8m government consultation which proposed 127 sites in 2011, only 50 have been designated so far.
In 2016, the most recent designations stretched from the coast of Northumberland down to Land’s End and included Europe’s longest chalk reef off Cromer in Norfolk.
The 50 MCZs, along with other types of protected areas, are now said to cover 20 per cent of all English waters – this makes up nearly 8,000 sq miles (20,700 sq km).
Another criticism of the MCZs is they’ve deemed as useless ‘paper parks’, offering no real protection from the dredging and trawling which has devastated large areas of England’s seas for decades.
When it comes to looking after the planet, it’s not just the animals in the oceans which need consideration:
Speaking about the MCZs, Prof Callum Roberts, at the University of York – one of the UK’s leading marine conservation experts – said:
They’ve no management at all, so life within them remains unprotected. They’ll be worse than useless, giving the illusion of protection where none is present.
Whatever the answer, more needs to be done to protect our planet!