Filey fisherman throws lobsters back into the sea

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Government agencies, including the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture (CEFAS) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) are scrambling to find an answer to deaths mysterious deaths as fishermen in the region fear for their livelihood. Robert Goodwill, the Conservative MP for Whitby and Scarborough, had described the situation as a “complete mystery” and “a matter of great concern”.

Fishermen have alleged that these deaths may be linked to the dredging of the River Tees.

Barrie Deas, a spokesperson for the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisation described the situation like an “Agatha Christie murder mystery”.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “You’ve got all these dead bodies, and nobodies really sure about what the cause is.

“The fisherman in the area point to the fact that there’s been some dredging of the River Tees at a deeper level than has historically been the case.

“The Tees was heavily polluted during the industrial revolution, after which the spoil was dumped on a dumpsite out at sea.

Mr Deas noted that the scientist he spoke to suspected that algae bloom could be one suspected cause of the deaths.

He added: “The latest hypothesis which possibly fits the facts better is an algae bloom which causes a reduction in the dissolved oxygen in the area.

“Which is why I think they’ve tested for about a thousand contaminants, without finding anything so far that fits the bill. None of the diseases fit the bill either.”

Meanwhile, DEFRA has refuted the claim that dredging of the river could be linked to the deaths.

They said: “​​Dredging has been ruled out as a likely cause of the dead crabs and lobsters. Samples of dredge 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 will not be licensed.

“In addition, EA tests on the affected crabs and lobsters ruled out chemical pollutants.

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“Nothing in the testing of sediment prior to disposal or evidence from EA sampling suggests a chemical contaminant is a cause.

DEFRA noted that the testing of sediment at the Inner Tees disposal site has already taken place in April and they found no evidence of elevated contaminants in sediment at locations around and within the disposal site.

“Sediment in the Tees Estuary is tested and sampled across the footprint of the area to be dredged at least every three years prior to disposal.”

According to Robert Harrison, a fisherman, they have lost up to 40 miles of the coastline, as crabs and lobster have disappeared from the North Yorkshire coast.

Mr Harrison said: “Fisherman will be out of business.

“It will be a disaster, there will be no tourists or anything.”

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