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WATCH: Thousands of starfish stranded on Moreton Island

VIDEO has emerged of thousands of starfish dying on Moreton Island after being washed ashore.

Brisbane Times reports the footage was captured by Sunrover Expeditions tour guide Rhett Ericsen-Miller near the Tangalooma Wrecks on Monday morning.

Mr Ericsen-Miller said he has witnessed starfish washing up between Cowan Cowan and Tangalooma before but this was by far the biggest stranding in three years.

"As tragic as it was, it was absolutely beautiful to see," he said.

Tour groups attempted to throw the surviving starfish back into the water but the size of the stranding made it impossible.

A Tragic, yet beautiful mystery

Posted by Rhett Ericsen-Miller on Sunday, November 22, 2015


A Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service spokeswoman said mass strandings were often linked to water temperature changes and strong winds.

"As far as we are aware it's a natural phenomenon, and at this stage we have no information to indicate otherwise," she said.

University of Queensland marine biologist Kathy Townsend said starfish have a tendency to gather together during mating season for a mass spawning.

"It could have been a case that they were all together, that they were spawning and then conditions changed and they all got washed up on shore," Ms Townsend, whose research centre is based on Moreton Island, said.

Australian Institute of Marine Science researcher Dr Sven Uthicke said he is unaware of any other Queensland locations where large starfish strandings occur.

"I've seen sea stars in the North Sea and Baltic Sea wash ashore, but certainly not in such numbers," he said.

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