Mystery as 50,000 dead starfish wash ashore in Ireland

Strange scene: 50,000 dead starfish form an eerie landscape at Lissadell Beach on Ireland's west coast

More than 50,000 starfish have been found dead after being washed ashore at a beautiful beach on the western coast of Ireland.

The thousands of starfish formed a bizarre carpet at Lissadell beach in County Sligo on the Western Irish coast.
So far, no one has been able to determine why the starfish died.

Bill Crowe, an Irish marine biologist and lecturer at Sligo Institute of Technology, says they could have been lifted up by a storm while feeding on the offshore mussel beds.

"The most likely explanation is that they were feeding on mussels but it is a little strange that none of them were attached to mussels when they were washed in," he said.

He says they have ruled out something like "red tide" or algal bloom because this would have washed other sealife ashore with them.

"These were almost all adult size and the typical starfish variety that is found in the North Atlantic but there was nothing else mixed in with them," he said.

However, there is still no official explanation for an earlier event this year when thousands of dead starfish washed ashore on Youghal Beach in Co Cork

Scientists could only speculate that they were thrown on to the beach by a storm-fueled underdtow far out at sea.