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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Tuesday, 19 March, 2002, 09:22 GMT
Starfish carpet beach
Starfish on beach
The starfish will dry out and die
Thousands of starfish have been washed up on a stretch of English coastline.

They were stranded on a mile-long part of the beach at Holkham after exceptionally strong winds churned up the seabed off north Norfolk.

"It happens perhaps once a year," said Nigel Croasdale, manager of The Sea Life Sanctuary aquarium at nearby Hunstanton.

"It's got nothing to do with pollution or global warming or anything like that. It's just a freak of nature.

'Extreme stress'

"Very strong winds cause the seabed, where the starfish are feeding on shellfish, to be disturbed and the starfish are washed ashore.

"A few may survive but most of them will dry out and die."

Ron Harold, an English Nature warden with responsibility for managing coastal areas around Holkham, added: "We had some very strong north-easterly winds towards the end of last week and an exceptionally large number of starfish have been washed ashore.

"Some are still alive but they are under extreme stress and they will perish."

The natural phenomenon - known as a wreck of starfish - is said to be as thick as a carpet in places.

Masses of razorshells have been washed up alongside the starfish.


Click here to go to Norfolk
See also:

19 May 99 | Health
Starfish aid cancer fight
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