Scale of death on North East beaches as whales, porpoises and more wash up on our shores

Thousands of dead crabs have been washing up along the North East coast in recent weeks.

They have been seen on beaches including Seaham, Saltburn and Seaton Carew as well as areas of North Yorkshire.

The incident baffled authorities and resulted in a probe to establish whether possible seismic activity, pollution and issues connected to wind turbines could be connected to the deaths.

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However, over the past couple of years, there have been several incidents in which all manner of marine life has ended up high and dry on our coast, including whales.

Here, we look back at some of the tragic incidents that took place along the North East coast.

Piles of dead crabs and sea creatures have washed up on the beach between Saltburn and Markse
Pic Sharon Bell
Piles of dead crabs and sea creatures have washed up on the beach between Saltburn and Markse Pic Sharon Bell
(Image: TeessideLive)

Dead whale in Berwick

In July, beach-goers were warned not to approach a dead whale which had washed up on a Northumberland beach.

Berwick Coastguard issued the warning to locals and visitors to the town, after the 9m carcass was found on the shore near Berwick Pier.

At the time, a spokesperson for the coastguard rescue team said the whale appeared to have been dead for some time.

A whale washed up to the north of Berwick Pier
A whale washed up to the north of Berwick Pier
(Image: Berwick Coastguard Rescue)

Minke whale north of Boulmer village

In June, a minke whale, measuring over 8m, was found dead on the coast north of Boulmer village. It was believed to have died some time ago.

It was confirmed there were no signs of trauma to the whale other than decomposition and sea bird predation.

30ft whale on Blyth beach

A humpback whale which has washed up dead on the beach at Blyth in Northumberland.
A humpback whale which has washed up dead on the beach at Blyth in Northumberland.
(Image: PA)

In March, a decomposing whale’s carcass was discovered on Blyth Beach.

Police put up a cordon around the 30ft creature, with officials warning the public to stay away.

Minke whale in South Shields

Dead minke whale on South Shields beach
Dead minke whale on South Shields beach

In September 2020, a dead whale washed up on a busy beach in South Tyneside.

The minke whale, measuring over 4m, was seen on Sandhaven Beach in South Shields and members of the coastguard were advising the public to stay away from the decomposing creature in case it “explodes”.

Blue jellyfish

The jellyfish were spotted on Ryhope beach
The jellyfish were spotted on Ryhope beach
(Image: Michael Naisbitt)

It’s not uncommon to find jellyfish on our shores.

And in July 2020, a beachgoer captured a series of mesmerising photos showing jellyfish that had appeared in Sunderland.

Michael Naisbitt captured the pictures of the blue jellyfish on Ryhope beach.

Along with the photos, Michael also issued a warning to anyone visiting beaches to be aware of jellyfish because even when they’re dead they can still sting.

Harbour porpoise at Druridge Bay

A harbour porpoise found washed up at Druridge Bay, Northumberland
A harbour porpoise found washed up at Druridge Bay, Northumberland

In July 2020, a decomposing marine mammal was discovered on the sand at Druridge Bay.

ChronicleLive sent a photo of the creature to experts at Newcastle University, who confirmed that it was a harbour porpoise.

According to The Wildlife Trusts, harbour porpoises can be spotted close to shore in relatively shallow water, especially in tidal races and around headlands.

There are thought to be around 340,000 living in, and around, the North Sea.

Sperm whale at Sandy Bay Beach

Many members of the public visited Sandy Bay beach to see what had happened to the whale, which captured public imagination as it struggled to return to the open sea
Many members of the public visited Sandy Bay beach to see what had happened to the whale, which captured public imagination as it struggled to return to the open sea
(Image: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire)

In October 2019, a sperm whale, nicknamed ‘Moby’ by people following its progress, died after becoming stranded at Sandy Bay Beach, near Newbiggin-by-the-Sea.

The body of the young male whale was removed by Northumberland County Council.

Humpback whale

A Humpback Whale washed up near Dunstanburgh Castle
A Humpback Whale washed up near Dunstanburgh Castle
(Image: Howick Coastguard Rescue)

In September 2019, a dead humpback whale washed up on the coast. The creature was spotted between Craster and Dunstanburgh Castle.

Howick Coastguard Rescue Team were among those called to the scene when the mammal, described as a juvenile, was spotted on the rocks.

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Chronicle Live – Sunderland