Starfish, crabs, mussels and lobster washing up on Plympton beaches

Jonathan Riley jriley@digbycourier.ca
Published on December 26, 2016

Joan Comeau of Brighton photographed starfish, crabs, mussels and clams and lobster near Savary Park on Dec. 26.

©JOAN COMEAU

Plympton, N.S. - People are finding more than just herring washing up on the shores of St. Mary’s Bay.

Joan Comeau of Brighton saw pictures on Facebook and went to check the beach below Savary Park, in Plympton on Dec. 26.

She saw, as people have been seeing for weeks, a beach covered in herring. But she also saw hundreds of starfish, dozens and dozens of little crabs, mussels and clams and, in the space of a few hundred metres, she saw seven lobster.

“This is extra concerning now that other species are involved,” said Comeau. “I’m not letting anyone forget about this until we find out what is causing it.”

These sightings, first reported by Eric Hewey on Facebook earlier on Dec. 26, are the first indication that other species might be involved in the massive herring die off.

Herring have been washing up steadily in southwest Nova Scotia for more than a month now.

Joan Comeau of Brighton photographed starfish, crabs, mussels and clams and lobster near Savary Park on Dec. 26.

©JOAN COMEAU

Comeau, who lives on the shore of St. Mary’s Bay in Brighton has been checking local beaches since the die off began. From her observations she had believed the most fish were washing up near Gilbert’s Cove.

“Now with these new fish, Savary Park is worse,” said Comeau.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans began investigating Nov. 22 after thousands and thousands of herring began washing in the eastern end of St. Mary’s Bay.

[Dead herring washing up on shore of St. Mary’s Bay – DFO investigating, Nov. 22]

And then Nov. 29, people started seeing the herring wash up on the shores of the Annapolis Basin near Digby, Smith’s Cove and near Cornwallis.

[Thousands of dead herring in Annapolis Basin, Nov. 30]

DFO has confirmed reports of dead and dying herring as far away as Pubnico as well.

DFO shared results of their testing – all negative - on Dec. 14, meaning none of the tests had turned up any clue as to what has been killing the herring.

DFO said at the time that further testing could take a couple more weeks.

[DFO asks public to use caution with dead herring on shores of southwest NS, Dec. 14]

jriley@digbycourier.ca

Joan Comeau of Brighton photographed starfish, crabs, mussels and clams and lobster near Savary Park on Dec. 26.

©JOAN COMEAU