'Phenomenal' number of sea creatures washed up in Ireland by winds

Octopus Octopuses on Blackhead beach, County Antrim

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A large number of sea creatures have been washed ashore as a result of the storm forces winds that have brought snow to Northern Ireland.

Large finds have been reported in Annalong in County Down and Whitehead in County Antrim.

"It's all along the east coast of Ireland," said Leslie Turner, an aquarist at the Exploris Aquarium in Portaferry.

"Lobsters, starfish, octopus, other types of marine life - it's not specific to any one place.

"Anywhere on the eastern side of Ireland where the gales have been on shore.

"There has been a phenomenal number of lobsters washed up."

Mr Turner said while this could often happen in severe winds, it was rare for it to happen in March.

"It's unusual, because we don't normally get this kind of weather at this time of year," he said.

"But it's not unusual in that a lot of stuff gets washed ashore when the gales are severe as they are or have been."

He said the octopuses found in the Irish Sea were quite small and are often found in lobster pots, which they are able to squeeze in and out of.

Washed up sealife Lobsters, octopuses and starfish washed up at Annalong in County Down

Mr Turner said while they were common in Irish waters, what had happened was still a blow.

"None of this helps, obviously there's quite a number of them being washed up and a lot of lobsters along the whole east coast of Ireland," he said.

"It's never good. How it relates to the overall population, I don't know.

"But in this day and age, no losses are good losses with the decline in general sealife populations."

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