Friday, September 16, 2011

Offshore wind turbines will attract killer starfish, warn oyster fishermen

Oyster fishermen supplying top Michelin-starred restaurants have warned that plans to extend a wind farm will attract thousands of starfish - which prey on the expensive shellfish.

The fishermen are furious that plans are being considered to increase the number of turbines from 30 to 47 at the Kentish Flats offshore wind farm, just six miles off the coast of Whitstable, Kent.

They say that starfish flocked to the area in 2005 when workmen laid cables for the 30 existing turbines, and that the construction of a further 17 would see them 'swamped with starfish'.

Starfish are attracted to areas when there is disturbance on the seabed - meaning there is more food available for them.

And as oysters are a favourite food for starfish, fishermen in Whitstable, Kent - which is the closest coastal town to the turbines - say they are worried their catch will be destroyed.

Whitstable is the country's foremost provider of oysters - which are used in top restaurants around the UK.

Fisherman Graham West, of West Whelks - which was set up in 1947 and provides oysters, lobsters, whelks and clams to top eateries - accused the owners of the wind farm, Vattenfall, of ignoring the concerns of local fishermen. more