Thousands of starfish washed up on sands in Thanet after stormy weather

Starfish washed up at Walpole Photo Mary Lou Liebau

A report has been made to the Environment Agency and the Kent Marine Protected Area Management Group after thousands of starfish washed up on the beach between Margate Winter Gardens and the Lido yesterday (February 27).

There has also been a mass stranding on Ramsgate main sands.

Starfish strandings are a natural occurrence that happen every year to some degree. The Natural History Museum says large strandings often occur after stormy weather when water currents become stronger and wash the starfish to the shore. Starfish live on the soft, sandy parts of the ocean floor and are easily picked up by currents and waves.

Photo Vincent Hawkins

Heavy storms can cause even deep water to move and affect offshore starfish populations. Changing tides, high winds and sea swell can also be factors.

Ramsgate Photo Get Wild/Nik Mitchell

Similar incidents happened across the isle in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2018 when thousands of Devil crabs – also known as Velvet swimming crabs – starfish, lobsters, sponges and anemones, were washed up on beaches following severe weather. Large starfish strandings were also reported last year.

Resident Mary Lou Liebau took the above video and said: “I went for a walk at Walpole and saw the most starfish I’ve ever seen.”

Thanet artist Vincent Hawkins says he was walking his dog Olive when he came across “a sad and shocking sight (of) hundreds of dead starfish.”

A Thanet council spokesperson said: “The council is aware of the starfish that have washed ashore. This event is likely to have been caused by recent rough seas and onshore winds.

“We understand the concern from members of the public when sea life is discovered on the district’s beaches.

Ramsgate Photo Get Wild/Nik Mitchell

“Fish and other sea creatures that have washed ashore are reported to the Environment Agency and the NE Kent Marine Protected Area Management Group.

“We report all dead aquatic mammals to British Divers Marine Life Rescue, who collect the remains.

“Beach users are advised to report stranded sea life to Thanet District Council by email on or [email protected] by calling 01843 577000.

Photo of previous stranding Robert Kemp

“Reports should include information on the species (if known) and its condition, along with details of the location, date and time seen. Any photos taken should be attached to the email.

“Members of the public are advised not to attempt to move any stranded sea life and to keep dogs and children away from them, as they may have infectious or transferable diseases.”

Did you know…

Starfish suck the life out of the seabed by smothering shell fish like mussels and clams. They even smother fish trapped in nets and leave marks on them.

 

3 Comments

  1. Bad news for the star fish, i hope the seagulls are okay & didn’t eat anything that started off by going down the toilet.

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