A UK study suggests that a new disease is to blame for widespread crab fatalities

What led to the widespread extinction of crustaceans in late 2021 off the coast of northeast England? The government, which is constructing a new “freeport” that will be the region’s centerpiece, was relieved by a fresh discovery on Friday.

According to the government, a number of customs-free zones are being planned to showcase Britain’s “post-Brexit freedoms” in commerce. The one in Teesside is one of them.

This Monday, several lawmakers demanded that dredging cease at that and other freeport locations in case it was to blame for the decline in crabs, lobsters, and other crustaceans from October to December 2021.

An initial investigation into the mysterious occurrence by government scientists identified a “naturally occurring toxic algal bloom” spanning the cities of Hartlepool and Whitby as the cause.

Then, a study by academics backed by the fishing industry pointed to an industrial pollutant called pyridine, possibly linked to the dredging.

Teesside has historically been associated with heavy industry, particularly chemical plants.

But the latest government-commissioned study by independent experts said it was “as likely as not that a pathogen new to UK waters” was the cause.

Dredging for maintenance, which was necessary to keep the port open, was also ruled out as the root reason because it did not produce enough pyridine or other poisonous compounds to kill the crabs.

Chief scientific advisor to the government Patrick Vallance praised the study.

The alternatives for potential causes and an analysis of likelihood are clearly put out in the study, he said, even if there is no conclusive conclusion at this time given the available data.


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x