Hundreds of crabs, lobsters and a variety of other crustaceans have washed up on beaches in north east England, much to the horror of local residents.
The Environment Agency has launched an investigation after piles of animals were found in ‘waist deep’ seaweed in some cases, the Metro has reported.
Residents said the incident is the ‘worst’ they have ever seen and will add to growing concerns about the future marine wildlife amid the climate crisis ahead of Glasgow’s COP26 environmental summit.
People living near beaches between Marske and Saltburn, Seaton Carew and further north at Seaham have reported that the numbers of creatures have steadily increased over the past two weeks.
Sharon Bell, who walks the stretch of beach near her home every day, told TeesideLive that she was out early on Monday morning with husband Christopher when they found piles of animals – and then spent four hours trying to return any live ones back into the water.
“I was utterly shocked and saddened to see in some parts, waist deep seaweed full of thousands of dead and alive crabs and lobsters, all kinds and species,” she said.
The 48-year-old, who has lived in the area for 21 years, continued: “I have never seen anything like this.
“Something is very, very wrong here.”
Local media have reported dead crustaceans have been spotted on various beaches in the region stretching back more than two week – with an Environment Agency investigation ongoing.
A spokesman told TeesideLive on Monday: “We are working with partners at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture and North Eastern Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority to investigate why hundreds of dead crabs have washed up along the shore in the Tees Estuary and neighbouring beaches.
“Samples of water, sediment, mussel and crab have been collected and are being sent to our labs for analysis, to consider whether a pollution incident could have contributed to the deaths of the animals.
“I have raised it with Ministers and will continue to, until the cause is identified.”
The area’s former MP, Anna Turley, branded the scenes ‘apocalyptic’ on Sunday.
The EA is asking the public to call them on 0800 807060 if they are aware of any pollution incidents that could be affecting wildlife.