Beachgoers were left stunned after a disturbing scene of heaps of sea creatures from fish to lobsters washed up on the shore.
Giant tides and gale force winds from Storm Emma are believed to have caused the huge dump of animals along the East Yorkshire coast.
Unbelievable pictures show Fraisthorpe beach near Bridlington blanketed by tonnes of the creatures, with a group of fishermen battling to save some of the marine life still alive.
One of them, Jack Sanderson, labelled it a ‘war zone’ as he attacked members of the public for trying to scavenge live under-sized lobsters while he and other commercial fisherman piled them into buckets and boxes in a bid to release them back into the sea.
It comes after tens of thousands of dead starfish were also washed up at Ramsgate in Kent following the severe weather, with witnesses saying the scene looked ‘like the armageddon’.
Commercial fisherman Jack Sanderson was at Fraisthorpe with a group of fishermen rescuing live lobsters to release back into the sea.
He said: ‘It was just like a war zone, total chaos. There was every form of marine life; velvet crabs, lobsters, whelks, scallops, razorfish, Dover soles, cod, ling, wrasse and sand eels.
‘We have had strong easterly winds up to force nine and combined with a 6.2 metre tide, and the fact there was a lot of cold, frost and snow, meant the water temperature dropped two degrees in one day, which is massive.
‘The combination just stunned everything and the direction of the wind has brought it onto the beach. It is still coming out of the sea; every tide is leaving a fresh batch.’
Mr Sanderson said he had been frustrated by the actions of some members of the public who had been taking under-sized live lobsters off the beach, or those carrying eggs, which is against regulations.
‘Don’t get me wrong – we earn our living from the sea. But the regulations are there for everybody and it’s only us who comply. We will hopefully release some of the lobsters tomorrow. We will go out five or six miles and let them go.’
Mr Sanderson said he was hopeful the amount of sealife seen on the beach was a reflection of healthy stocks and the natural disaster would not prove ‘totally catastrophic’ for the industry.
The lobsters they picked up have been taken to tanks at Bridlington harbour, where they will be kept until they can be put back into the sea.
Jason Harrison, skipper of the Scarborough shellfishing boat Shannon, added: ‘There were hundreds of thousands of lobsters, millions of mussels, you can’t count the number.
‘The number of velvets was scary. I’d say 80 to 90 percent of the lobsters were dead. This is the third time I have seen it in 30 years. It is nature, it happened before and it will happen again.’