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Sunday, 26 October 2014

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Is something fishy going on?

A FISHY mystery has got Furness beach-goers puzzled.

Hundreds of dead crabs and starfish have washed up on a Walney beach.

The bizarre sight follows a number of other similar incidents in the UK and beyond.

Walker Mike Quinn, of Piel View Grove, Barrow, made the discovery while strolling along a beach in South Walney on Monday.

He said: “I noticed a few the other day but today the amount of starfish and young spawned mussels is unbelievable.

“I don't know what it is, there's got to be a reason for it.”

Experts say high tides combined with icy temperatures may be the cause of the deaths.

Dave Conway, education officer at the Lakes Aquarium, said: “We’re coming up to a full moon now and the tides are more significant, so when things are exposed they’re more likely to suffer from the cold.

“Certainly the sea hasn’t been freezing around Walney so I can’t imagine the water getting that cold.

“When the tides go out the starfish and crabs will be exposed to the frost, that is one plausibility.

“The real truth of it is that we don’t really know.

“But it does highlight the difficulty of conserving things in the sea and understanding exactly what does go on, because it’s such a vast area.

“The sea tends to sort things out, so you do tend to get one kind of thing washed up at the same time.

“This gives the perception of something a bit more drastic than it appears.”

Last weekend thousands of crabs and starfish were washed up on Brighton beach.

An Environment Agency spokeswoman said the reason was a drastic fall in south coast sea temperatures at the end of last year.

Marine animals have also been washing up on beaches in the USA.

Earlier this month there was a nationwide scare in America as fish and even sea birds were being washed up on beaches.

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