TENS of thousands of marine animals have been washed up along the Yorkshire coast following the cold temperatures and rough weather over the last week.

Crabs, starfish, mussels and lobsters are ankle-deep in places along the Holderness coast in East Yorkshire.

Most of the animals are now dead, largely with the exception of the lobsters.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Living Seas team has been working alongside local fisherman rescuing the lobsters that are still alive, gathering them in buckets and taking them to tanks in Bridlington for care, before putting them back in the sea as weather improves. 

Similar scenes have been reported down the North Sea coast including Norfolk and Kent. 

Bex Lynam, North Sea Marine Advocacy Officer, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said: “There was a three degree drop in sea temperature last week which will have caused animals to hunker down and reduce their activity levels.

"This makes them vulnerable to rough seas – they became dislodged by large waves and washed ashore when the rough weather kicked in.

"Larger animals such as dolphins are more mobile and can save themselves by swimming away when this sort of thing happens.

“Lobsters are one of the few species still alive – that’s why we’re saving them with local fisherman.

"This area is very important for shellfish and we work alongside fisherman to promote sustainable fisheries and protect reproductive stocks.

"It’s worth saving them so that they can be put back into the sea and continue to breed."

Holderness Inshore is already designated as a Marine Conservation Zone. The government is due to announce a consultation into more marine conservation zones this year. 

Dr Lissa Batey, senior living seas officer with the Wildlife Trusts, said: “We can’t prevent natural disasters like this – but we can mitigate against declining marine life and the problems that humans cause by creating enough protected areas at sea and by ensuring that these sites are large enough and close enough to offer fish, crustaceans, dolphins and other marine life the protection they require to withstand natural events such as this.”