Thousands of dead starfish wash up on UK beaches

Thousands of dead starfish have washed up on British beaches in what has been dubbed "starfish Armageddon" following ...

Posted: Mar 6, 2018 1:31 PM

Thousands of dead starfish have washed up on British beaches in what has been dubbed "starfish Armageddon" following last week's unseasonably cold weather.

A beach in Kent in southeastern England was covered with starfish and other marine life after last week's "Beast from the East" cold snap joined forces with Storm Emma, causing high winds and sending temperatures plunging below zero.

"It is not until you see it for yourself that you can appreciate the scale and numbers of dead sea life washed up on the beach," Keith Ross, an eyewitness, told CNN. "The locals have never seen anything like it."

Ross said the sub-zero weather from Siberia had a direct effect on marine creatures. "That has killed lots of wildlife including sea birds like gannets," he added.

Ross, a birdwatcher, estimated that there were "tens of thousands" of starfish on one section of the beach.

Lara Maiklem, who lives on the Kent coast, said the sheer size of the event was shocking. "There were thousands upon thousands of starfish, with crabs, sea urchins, fish and sea anemones mixed in with them. Someone even found a lobster," she said. "It was shocking and sad. I've never seen anything like it, almost biblical in scale."

"They covered the shore in a thick blanket. Most of the starfish were dead, but quite a few crabs were still alive and we tried to rescue as many as we could," she added.

Causes are uncertain

Kent wasn't the only place affected. The Wildlife Trusts noted another mass stranding in Yorkshire, where dead marine animals from the North Sea were "ankle-deep in places."

According to researchers from Plymouth University, starfish rolling along the seabed in a sphere shape, a term known as "starballing," might provide clues to why they are prone to being stranded en masse during strong weather conditions.

"At this point, we simply cannot say whether the starballing individuals were swept off the seabed by the strong tidal flow, or if the individuals allowed themselves to be transported," said Emma Sheehan, a senior research fellow at Plymouth University's Marine Institute, said. "It's a hypothesis we will be looking to test in the future."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 34211

Reported Deaths: 2125
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9761576
Lake3573186
Allen160069
Cass15877
St. Joseph126634
Elkhart126228
Hendricks116671
Hamilton115493
Johnson1097108
Madison58659
Porter53428
Bartholomew50834
Clark49741
LaPorte43023
Howard40428
Tippecanoe3933
Delaware38536
Jackson3821
Shelby37122
Hancock33127
Floyd31839
Boone31635
Morgan27824
Vanderburgh2662
Montgomery23817
White2338
Noble22821
Clinton2271
Decatur22431
Grant21022
Dubois1993
Harrison19422
Henry17211
Greene16924
Vigo1688
Dearborn16821
Monroe16712
Warrick16628
Lawrence15924
Miami1401
Putnam1367
Jennings1304
Kosciusko1271
Orange12622
Scott1193
Franklin1108
Ripley1086
Marshall1021
Carroll932
Daviess8516
Steuben832
Wayne785
Fayette777
Newton7710
Wabash772
LaGrange762
Jasper661
Washington521
Clay511
Jay500
Fulton491
Randolph473
Rush462
Pulaski460
Jefferson451
Whitley413
Starke393
DeKalb371
Sullivan351
Owen341
Brown331
Perry320
Wells310
Benton300
Knox280
Huntington272
Tipton251
Blackford252
Crawford240
Fountain212
Switzerland200
Spencer201
Parke170
Adams171
Posey160
Gibson152
Ohio130
Warren121
Martin110
Vermillion100
Union90
Pike60
Unassigned0167
West Lafayette
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 63°
Kokomo
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 58°
Rensselaer
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 59°
Fowler
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 57°
Williamsport
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 63°
Crawfordsville
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 62°
Frankfort
Broken Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 63°
Delphi
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 58°
Monticello
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 58°
Logansport
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 57°
Cooler, less humid weather continues Sunday
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events