Thousands of dead starfish washed up on the shore have fallen foul of extreme weather it seems. Beachwalkers have had to pick their way past piles of dead starfish stranded on Youghal beach. Denise Fitzgerald from the East Cork Journal was taking a stroll on the beach between Claycastle and Redbarn in Youghal and was amazed to see thousands of starfish washed onto the sand.
The dead echinoderms ranged in size from a few centimetres to several inches and were a sad spectacle to behold. The ECJ made contact with a renowned Marine Biologist, Professor Noel P. Wilkins, NUI Galway, to discover the reasons behind this strange phenomenon. ‘I’ve never seen anything like this in my lifetime,’ he stated. ‘It was unusual that starfish were the only species to be washed ashore – especially in these numbers. The most viable reason was that these starfish lived at a certain level of the ocean, and were thrown up onto the beach by a tremendous underflow, which was probably caused by a storm under the sea.’
Starfish or sea stars are found in most of temperate and tropical oceans of the world and, in this part of the world, are usually viewed in aquariums.
With talk of global warming and increasingly unpredictable climatic conditions, it seems that it’s not just those on the land who have something to worry about.
Average lifespan in the wild: Up to 35 years
Size: 4.7 to 9.4 in (12 to 24 cm)
Weight: Up to 11 lbs (5 kg)
Did you know? Sea stars have no brains and no blood. Their nervous system is spread through their arms and their “blood” is actually filtered sea water.
East Cork Journal
Tel. (021) 4638 022
Fax. (021) 4638 927