Thousands of dead starfish found washed up on a beach in Portsmouth, UK

starfish washed up
 
The creatures were dislodged from the seabed in the rough waves and left strewn across the stone-covered sands as the tide went out.
 
Shocked walkers discovered the starfish on Southsea beach, in Portsmouth, Hampshire, and tried to return any still alive to the water.
 
But a large number were already dead after being out of the water too long and some had even been thrown off the beach by the stormy conditions and onto the nearby promenade.
 
Peter Whitelock, who regularly combs the beach for valuable items, was shocked after finding the creatures when he arrived and says he has never seen anything like it
 
The 62-year-old, of Portsmouth, said: “There were thousands of them. I’ve never seen so many all in one place.
 
“It must have been the storm that brought them all in from the sea.”
 
And Rachel Hammerton, 39, of Southsea, who walks her dog on the beach, was also amazed by the number of starfish she found.
 
She said: “I don’t think anything like this has happened in previous years when we have had storms.
 
“When I got down to the beach there were loads of them just laying there.” 
 
A number of local residents went to the beach with buckets to try and save the creatures after seeing they had been washed up in the storm.
 
Jennifer Harris, of Waterlooville, said she felt they were fighting a losing battle, with the water washing more and more up each time they rescued some.
 
She said: “The more I collected in a bucket and put back into the sea even more seemed to wash ashore again.
 
“It’s not often you spend an afternoon trying to save such beautiful creatures. The starfish have been washed up in their thousands.” 
 
Hannah Butt, from the Blue Reef Aquarium in Southsea, revealed the starfish like to feed on other creatures in the shallow waters – which meant they had been caught up in the stormy weather.
 
She said: “It’s always sad to see large numbers of marine creatures stranded at the same time.
 
“Starfish feed on mussels and other molluscs and tend to live in relatively shallow water.
 
“Huge numbers of them can congregate on a single bed of mussels and – if conditions are right – will be dislodged by rough seas.
 
“Some types of starfish also move inshore to breed and this is another possible cause, although this tends to happen during the spring or early summer months.
 
“Other potential factors are they have been disturbed by dredging or affected by pollution, however the general consensus would seem to associate these types of strandings at this time of the year with strong onshore winds and stormy weather.”
Courtesy of express.co.uk

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