Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Starfishy Business

As the local papers tend to follow up my jottings on a regular basis, I thought I'd return the compliment and have a little delve into a story they've been running.

Thousands of dead starfish have been washed up recently in Pegwell Bay, providing an unexpected feast for the KFC gulls. Well, at least it's temporarily keeping them away from the bin bags in Augusta Road. But there's been a mass debate over what's caused the mass extinction. Some wags have put it down to the adjacent Viagra factory, and posited that they've rogered themselves to death after some kind of aquatic orgy. Others have put it down to the tons of poisonous slag from local coal mines that was used in building the apron of the now defunct hoverport, and which is now leeching into this SSSI.

However, having pensively sucked on a couple of Fisherman's Friends I've come up with another theory. It seems the starfish feed on mussels. And the mussel beds are regularly trawled by local fisherfolk looking for a lucrative catch, dragging up our five-fingered fishy friends in the process. Hence the feast for the flying poodles. Rotters!

Click here to go to angling forum on dead starfish in Pegwell Bay
Photo: Reader Steve
Faded stars: Pegwell Bay at the weekend


fred said...

Has anyone figured out why the tide line of Ramsgate's main beach appears to be sand thats a dirty 'muddy' colour?

I wondered if this was just dirt washed onto the beach from the land by heavy rain. But there appears to be quite of lot of sand like this. Other areas further down the beach are dirty like this just under the surface.

Maybe its like this every winter, and I'd not noticed it before ...


Dick Rubin said...

Some local entrepreneur will collect them up, dry 'em, varnish them and sell them in a gift shop along with all those other tasty nick nacks our seaside giftshops sell. When I was a kid in Broadstairs, circa 1975, one was able to purchase from a gify shop there varnished (and of course dead) tortoises. A great gift indeed. 'Fred' is looking a bit unfresh these days.

steve said...

Fred, not an expert, but discoloration like this could be caused by oil. Aound 4 weeks ago there were "oil on the beach" signs dotted along thanets coast.

fred said...


I'd forgotten about the 'oil on beach' signs.

Most oil I've seen on beaches has been in the form of thick tar. If its oil, then it was probably either very thin (like fuel oil) or perhaps it was emulsified in some way to make to stain the sand like that.


steve said...

does our council, seeing as it manages a few miles of beach, have tested the sand for anything toxic? or does their disregard for the "seaside" element of Thanet run to allowing the sand to be poisened?

Lucy Mail said...

Could be worse, y'know. I was on Brighton beach last Summer and the whole place was littered with chocolate starfish.

Left a bad taste in my mouth, I can tell you!

Anonymous said...

We should have nudie beach like Brighton and unlike Brighton we have sand. I would be happy to get my kecks off after all there is nothing more annoying than a Sandy Gusset.

Anonymous said...

Minor point but Viagra is manufactured in County Cork at the factory at Ringaskiddy. Interestingly the birthrate in that area has shown an upturn since Pfizer opened their plant there.

Doesn't explain the dead starfish here, though.

Eastcliff Richard said...

Thanks for the update. As regular readers know, I am prone to playful exaggeration, and often humorously conflate the Sandwich plant, owned by Pfizer, the makers of Viagra, with the blue pills themselves. Crikey! I think I got through all of that without making a single double entendre!

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't be so sure about that!
Update and playful exaggeration would both work well with Viagra.
And besides, is it possible to make a single double entendre?

Salty Seaman said...

Wasn't aware anyone around here was operating hydraulic dredging.

The recent big storm is more probably a cause, strong southwesterly with a fetch reaching all the way down the channel will dump whatever it's picked up in a bay like Pegwell.