SATURDAY'S Northern Echo reveals the devastating impact a mysterious killer is having on our fishing industry as it continues to wipe out sea life along the coast.

For months we've heard stories of crustaceans washing up on beaches. We've been told by politicians and environmental organisations that concerns are being taken seriously and investigations will be carried out thoroughly.

Read more: Mysterious killer continues to wipe out North East sea life

But seven months on from the first reports, we are no further forward to finding a solution. Defra have ruled out numerous possible causes and blamed a "naturally occurring harmful algal bloom" for the crisis. Fishermen from across the North East dispute these findings.

Wherever the blame lies, one thing is clear. There is still a problem. Dead crabs and lobsters are still appearing on the sand, and other marine life is also being impacted.

And as a result, our fishing industry is being decimated. It has already faced a turbulent time, from issues surrounding post-Brexit agreements and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic to a rise in fuel prices, this is the icing on a not very appetising cake.

Read more: No plans for new investigation into North East sea life deaths

Their warnings are now impossible to ignore, but they feel like no one is listening. How can it be that one of our oldest and proudest industries could disappear without trace with those in a position to help standing by and just watching it happen?

The answer to this growing problem may not be easy to find, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. And it is now essential that efforts are ramped up with an immediate sense of urgency.

As thousands of dead sea creatures continue to tarnish our coastlines, there is a sense those investigating are washing their hands of it.

It is time for someone to take responsibility and get to the bottom of this crisis before another key part of our heritage - and the livelihoods that go with it - is lost forever.

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