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May 25th, 2024

North Sea Conservation Saddened by Distressing Wave of Marine Life Wash-ups

Our charity that runs the Whitby Lobster Hatchery is called North Sea Conservation. We are made up of 12 trustees, 3 staff and a handful of dedicated volunteers. We have all be distressed to once again see dead and dying marine life washing up along our coastline.

North Sea Conservation, the marine conservation charity behind the Whitby Lobster Hatchery, is deeply saddened to report a new wave of marine life wash ups along the Yorkshire & North East coastline. 

Earlier this month dead marine life was discovered along the coastline from Hartlepool to Whitby, raising alarm amongst conservationists and local communities. The wash-ups, which began just one day after a new dredging operation started at the Tees Estuary, have included a significant number of razor clams, hard clams, crabs, starfish and urchins.

This distressing event follows a series of similar incidents that have plagued the coastline since 2021. At the time of the first recorded wash-up, reports suggested it may have been linked to dredging activity in the nearby Tees estuary. The recent wash-up occurred following a similar dredging exercise operating within the Tees Estuary.

North Sea Conservation, which completed the installation of the Whitby Lobster Hatchery in 2023, has always aimed to maintain a healthy balance of marine life in the North Sea. However, these recurring incidents pose a significant threat to the Hatchery’s mission and the broader sustainability of our oceans. The Charity is particularly concerned about the potential leaching of unknown contaminants and industrial chemicals into the water, jeopardising its efforts and the health of marine ecosystems.

The fishing communities along the coastline have only recently begun to recover from the catastrophic 2021 ecocide event. This decimated marine life and caused erratic population surges of species such as brittle starfish, whelks, starfish, and sea slugs, disrupting the delicate balance of life that exists in the region. 

The chair of the board of trustees at the Charity said “We are really concerned about the latest developments. The problems we’ve experienced seem to be happening again. I’m concerned for our marine ecosystem, the fishing industry and our charities' impact. What needs to happen before our coastline is listened to?”.

The North Sea Conservation charity calls on regulators and authorities to carefully monitor the ongoing situation and protect our coastal communities’ livelihoods and the beautiful North East marine ecosystems. 

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