Over the period 1—4 April 1999 a large number of dead asteroids were washed ashore at the northern end of the Isle of Man. The area is commonly used for public recreation and the stranding prompted numerous alarmed telephone calls to various bodies. Initially, disease or pollution were suspected, but a more detailed examination of the circumstances indicated that the mass stranding was probably a result of tides and weather conditions. The stranding occurred on the east coast of the Isle of Man from about 100 m to the south of the Point of Ayre, which is the northernmost point of the Isle of Man, and extended southwards for ≈600 m. This is a highly exposed shore with a strong tidal flow, subtidally it is shallow, with coarse gravel and exposed bedrock, and extensive mussel (Mytilus edulis) beds, which may be expected to attract large numbers of predatory starfish.
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