Thousands of dead crabs found on the North East shores linked to natural algae

The mystery of thousands of dead crabs and lobsters that were found washing up on the North East shores might finally be solved. 

Experts who spent months carrying out tests say they believe the creatures died as a result of a natural algae.

An investigation was launched by The Environment Agency after the crustaceans were discovered on several beaches stretching over several miles in Redcar, Saltburn, Seaton Carew and Seaham.

A government statement said: "Defra and partner agencies consider that the deaths of the crabs and lobsters potentially resulted from a naturally occurring harmful algal bloom.

"No traces of chemical contaminants have been found that could have caused an event of this scale.

"Follow up survey work carried out by the Environment Agency on the 18th and 19th of January 2022 has also shown live healthy crabs present in the area, albeit in reduced numbers."

One fish merchant in Whitby said it is going to take some time to get the industry back on its feet:

Some theories linked the issue to dredging in the area, but the review found "no evidence of a link between the disposal of dredged sediment and the deaths".

The statement added: "Evidence gathered by Government scientists and multiple agencies throughout the investigation will continue to be collated and studied.

"While this is no longer an active investigation, the agencies will continue to work with local fishers and remain on standby to respond if further events occur."