Concerns are growing after numbers of dead crustaceans have started washing up on Teesside's beaches again.Piles of dead sea creatures including crabs, lobsters and razor clam shells have been noticed littering the beaches at South Gare near Redcar and along the coast to Saltburn over the past 10 days.
Clumps of dead seaweed have also been seen along the same stretch of beach.Defra, the government department for the environment, food and rural affairs, have confirmed they are monitoring the finds.
The agency, which launched an investigation after huge piles of dead creatures washed up on Teesside beaches last October, said it remains "in close contact" with the local fishing industry.
The latest finds have been noted by marine lecturer and diver David McReadie and seal rescue volunteer Sally Bunce who both remain concerned about the recent wash ups and the effect on marine life off the Teesside coast.
Both have captured pictures showing the extent of the most recent occurrences which have happened over the past 10 days, particularly around the end of April.Images show a number of lobsters, razor clam shells and piles of seaweed containing dead crabs.
"It's a dead zone," said Sally. "Fishermen in Saltburn have also reported pulling pots that are full of black silt."The crabs and lobsters were first noted about 10 days ago, you are not going to get it on the same scale as before because they are just not there in any numbers.
"There were a number of tiny crabs, lobsters of all sizes. Fishermen have also reported they are pulling their pots up but caught nothing."
A seal pup was rescued recently, said Sally, which was not much more than its birthweight and 'had its skin slipping off' leading to fears there might have been a pollution incident.Both she and David remain concerned about dredging activity at the mouth of the Tees disturbing historical pollutants.
They say a dredging vessel was spotted in the same area as the Orca vessel, noted last September before the crustaceans began to wash up for the first time.
"Divers on the Gare on Sunday said it's a dead zone, there's nothing alive, even the seaweed is dying off" added Sally."There was a band of seaweed with lots of dead crabs, lobsters, 3lb lobsters half buried in seaweed and loads of dead razor shells," said David.
"There have also been reports of the same happening at Saltburn where lobsters were found near the pier. More dredging work is planned for June and July, are we going to have a toxic coast forever?"
Defra has previously ruled dredging out as a cause for the crustacean mortalities which were blamed on an 'algal bloom.'
The agency says samples of dredged material must meet the highest international standards protecting marine life before it is permitted to be disposed of at sea.
If samples analysed for contaminants do not meet the standards, the disposal to sea of that material will not be licensed, it said.There are no plans to re-open the initial investigation and the recent finds are being monitored.
A Defra spokesman said: "We are monitoring recent small scale wash ups at South Gare and the Tees area, and remain in close contact with both the local fishing industry and other partner agencies."