HUNDREDS of starfish have been spotted stranded on a beach in south Walney.

Emma Wadsworth took a photo of starfish while she was walking down the beach on the afternoon of November 5. 

She said it was 'shocking' to see the starfish.

"With all my years walking down south Walney I've never seen anything like this before," she said.

Sarah Neill is a marine biologist from Kendal College who responds to strandings across the county.

She said: "We do sometimes see mass standings of starfish after storms and this could be due to their “star balling” behaviour. This is a behavioural response to environmental changes, such as stronger currents, which trigger the animal to enlarge its body volume and bloat, they also retract their tentacles and detach from the seabed.

"This behaviour is beneficial to allow them to get swept along to new feeding and breeding grounds but also puts them at high risk of washing ashore in large numbers in the event of a storm.

READ MORE: Concerns raised over dead seal left on Walney beach for three weeks

"Starfish strandings are not unusual but mass strandings on a large scale don’t happen that often. Unfortunately, they can not survive long out of water so many are not likely to be alive." 

Last week, The Mail reported that a dead seal had spent three weeks lying on the beach near West Shore Car Park. 

The seal was in an advanced state of decomposition. Mark Rice, a member of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue team said: "It's hard to say how long it's been there or how it died. I measured it and it's about 6ft2", however, it's quite swollen due to internal gasses.

"I have contacted the council about it myself but I believe they have had trouble finding it. It is a concern as it's a deceased wild animal that can carry diseases that are harmful to people and dogs and it is starting to get a bit smelly."

A Westmorland and Furness Council spokesperson said: "When original reports were made to the council, attempts were made to locate the seal but high tides had moved its location.

"We have recently received information from the public which has enabled us to locate the seal and make further arrangements for its removal. Access to this area is governed by tide times and daylight."