Yesterday a report by a team of experts, on the North East crustacean die-off was published. The conclusions were that algal bloom was unlikely and that chemical pollution and dredging were also unlikely. The team has now said that it may have been caused by a new pathogenic parasite.
Alex Cunningham, MP for Stockton North, had this to say on the report’s findings:
“…the government has been found out – but it is the people of Teesside who have paid the price. For over fifteen months I and others across Teesside, North Yorkshire and County Durham have been calling for answers on the mass crustacean die-offs that have blighted our environment and have had a detrimental impact on our local fishing industry. I’m pleased that this scientific assessment has shed some light on the matter, and I want to thank Sir Patrick Vallance and his team for the work they have done on it.
“We now know that the algal bloom theory which the Prime Minister, Ministers, Tory MPs and the Tees Valley Mayor have hidden behind for so long is an unlikely cause for the mass deaths. For months they told us that an algal bloom is the cause and have rubbished anyone who has dared to challenge this theory.
“Just think of the time they could have saved – and anxieties they could have allayed – had they held up their hands, accepted that it was an inconclusive theory, and agreed to carrying out more testing and investigations from the outset. Sadly local Tories seem to think the matter is now closed with this report and are more concerned with protecting the Tees Valley Mayor’s flagship policy.”
What does the fishing community say?
Fisher, Stan Rennie, North Eastern Fishing Collective (NEFC) Member has written to EFRA with his concerns. He is very concerned that this may become, or already be, a worldwide issue, In Stan’s words:
“The independent panel, now states that this new, undetectable parasite is the main possibility, of a huge part of our coastal waters die-offs, It is now a worldwide, serious concern.
“…Time cannot be wasted; the repercussions could be devastating to the world’s ecosystem and human food supply.
“I call for the government, to commission full independent testing, and clarity, to work with truly independent scientists, including those commissioned by the NEFC, and also others, to urgently test the Tees sediment, deep testing as soon as possible, and to fully test the Tees and freeport capital and maintenance dredge area, to see if there is pyridine and other harmful toxins, that really could have caused the die-offs.”
This is far from over
Campaigner, Sally Bunce, who rescues seals with British Divers Marine Life Rescue, also feels that the matter is far from settled. Despite the report’s assertion on chemicals and dredging, she reminds us that pyridine, highly toxic to marine life, is still present throughout the Tees sediment. She also said that:
“Mapping showed the UKD orca dredge plume mirrored the die-off zone and pyridine was found at the surface of the Orca dredge site eight months later.“
Whilst the newest report may have brought us a little closer to finding out the truth, there is clearly a need for further research.
As Alex Cunningham says:
“As far as I and many others are concerned the matter is very much not closed. This investigation is a good first step to getting to the bottom of this issue. We now need a fully independent and entirely transparent investigation into the matter with access to all areas for sampling and testing. Only then will get to the bottom of this environmental tragedy of epic proportions.”