Thousands of starfish strand on Dutch beach

Dead starfish as far as the eye can see. Photo: Martin KoolDead starfish as far as the eye can see. Photo: Martin Kool

Thousands of dead starfish have been washed up on the beach near the seaside resort of Callantsoog but only those close to beach pavilions are being cleared up.

The dead sea creatures will be cleared from a 2km stretch of strand to stop the smell disturbing winter beach goers, Schagen council said on Thursday. The starfish were washed up along several parts of the North Sea coast earlier this week.

Arthur Oosterbaan, of the marine research group Ecomare told local broadcaster RTVNH strong winds have stirred up the water and the low temperatures made the starfish sleepy and unable to stay on the sea bed. They were then brought up by the tide.

Mass starfish strandings happen fairly rarely. In December 2014, an estimated 100,000 starfish were washed up on a beach in South Carolina. In 2012, some 50,000 were stranded on an Irish beach.