Sea life washing up on English beaches may be more than just a shocking sight — they may be infected with deadly diseases, the Independent reports.
Australian zoologist Dr. Peter Field, who studies pollution in Britain’s salt marshes, told the Independent about his experience of seeing hundreds of sea creatures washing up dead in England’s English Channel, many with fatal infectious diseases.
Of particular concern is a die-off of scores of starfish, following an unusually warm and rainy winter.
“It’s unlikely the warm weather caused this major die-off by just a period of calm seas, and the accompanying reports of toxic algae have not been confirmed. More likely it is the combination of the warm weather and storms, with overgrazing and poor water quality leading to major losses of starfish, and subsequently deaths of them and associated nutrients and species,” Field told the Independent.
The ailing starfish have led some to warn of a human disease outbreak, though reports indicate that isn’t the case.
“There have been some deaths of sea-bream, but that was probably caused by a disease, and there was no suspected virus outbreak — there is simply not enough sea water coming in that would make a pandemic of any degree possible,” Field said.
Large numbers of fish have also been found dead along the English coast in recent months, with the National Marine Fisheries Service stating that the number of fish sightings has risen at the end of 2018.
“Some of the fish biomass numbers are showing up at fairly high levels, which indicates that there is a problem,” said ornithologist Sarah Field to the Independent.
For more on this story, click over to the Independent.