Some 150 dogs have recently been reported to have fallen unwell after walks on beaches on the North Yorkshire coast between Redcar to Scarborough. It’s alleged they’ve come into contact with a toxic substance in the North Sea, which is also said to have killed birds, crabs and lobsters in ecosystems off the coast.
James Cole, leader of the Fishermen’s Association, believes the fall in catch rates coincided with one of the phases of dredging at Teesport, Teesside, following the government plans to make the port bigger which will create thousands of jobs.
James, 52, claims when officials have dredged down at this phase they have unearthed tonnes of chemical toxins which have been locked away in the mud and clay for decades.
Fishermen claim the chemicals have been dumped into the sea, which have clung to the shorelines and polluted the water, resulting in thousands of crustaceans to wash up dead on our Yorkshire beaches.
But the government, which is currently investigating, has dismissed the claims.
The next phase of dredging is said to have recently begun, coinciding with the sickness of dogs after visiting the beach, reports Yorkshire Live.
James said: “If it was a disease then why has is it jumped from species to species, and only stayed within one geographical area.
“A chemical is going into the sand, dogs being sick now, what about children? They are going to be playing on the beaches in the summer.”
Dog owners in Yorkshire have reported their pets have suffered from diarrhoea and vomiting following walks on the sand.
Fishermen’s Association held meetings with Environmental Agency Marine Management Organisation and Cefas (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science), who protect our sea’s and coasts, in October.
James says they took samples for analysis but they couldn’t find any diseases in the stock that had washed ashore and they also ruled out electrocution through wind farming.
However, he claims tests were not run for chemicals.
James continued: “The chemical will settle amongst the sand, it’s already gone along the bottom of the ocean and swept along like a carpet with the tide and stopped along the shoreline.
“I worry if it’s in the sands it will affect the tourism, dogs are sick, it’s frightening what it could be.
“If it’s nothing and the dogs are sick because of a disease then why is no one finding out what it is, it could be a public health issue.”
Robert Harrison, Filey, who is also a fisherman, also claims there is a link between the dead crustacean’s and ill pets.
He alleges there isn’t a living thing up to three miles out to sea from Teesport to Scarborough, and claims this has coincided with the dredging at Teesport.
Robert said: “Fishermen will be out of business.
“The chemical toxins will have clung to the shorelines, moving south with the tide.
“That means the sand on the beaches will be polluted.
“What about the children playing on the sand in the summer, what if they get sick next, there will be hell on.
“It will be a catastrophe.
“The seabirds, crabs and lobsters got swept under the carpet, until now with the dogs being ill.
“Everything is dead out to sea, we just can’t see it.”
A spokesperson from DEFRA said: “Investigations are ongoing. Defra has taken on overall responsibility for the investigation from the Environment Agency.
“The Environment Agency and our science advisors Cefas have undertaken extensive tests to try to determine the cause and are reviewing the evidence gathered since the start of this incident, as well as considering any additional work needed.
“The Environment Agency have not identified any chemical contamination in the area that is likely to have caused the crab and lobster mortalities.
“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.
“Nothing in the testing of sediment prior to disposal or evidence from EA sampling suggests a chemical contaminant is a cause. Testing of sediment at the Inner Tees disposal site has already taken place in April and there was 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.
“Defra is aware and are in contact with APHA over these reports.
“We are not aware of any link with the issue of crustaceans washed ashore in the area late last year.
“We also want to strongly emphasise that these claims are speculation, and that there is no current evidence to confirm the theory you have presented.”