Thousands of starfish wash ashore in Port St. Joe

It’s a sight you have to see to believe. Thousands of dead starfish are washing ashore and spread across about a mile of beach in Port St. Joe.
Susan Whiten and her husband walk along the secluded area near Windmark Beach and were shocked to find such a large number of the sea creature.
We maybe see ten or 20 but not thousands,” Whiten said.  “I just thought it was very unusual.”
The starfish started coming ashore this weekend in groups, looking a lot like blankets along the surf. Whiten recorded video on her cell phone and posted it on Facebook. It was shared more than 5,000 times as of Monday night.
She said this starfish kill is different from when hundreds of fish washed ashore from Red Tide this fall. There are more starfish but the beaches do not smell.
“Somebody told us about the starfish and the starfish coming up onto the beach by the water and stuff like that so we took a drive down and saw all of these starfish,” Terry Reece said.
Reece came over from Panama City Beach with a group of friends. It was a unique sight for them as they are visiting from Ontario, Canada. They looked at starfish in all different sizes and colors, from brown to purple and yellow.
“It’s sad but hopefully they can figure out what’s happened,” Reece said.
“I just wonder how they all came to this one resting area. It’s just amazing how many just all of a sudden ended up here,” Whiten said.
Biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission sais they won’t be able to tell what killed this many starfish since their tissue dries out fast, and they’re unable to test it. They said, though, environmental factors like this cold weather and recent storms likely played a large factor.

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