Short season for southern coastal beaches

Marine life has picked up its pace since the winter storms, so far the year’s best for southern beaches

The first few weeks of winter are usually seasonally slow for coastal England. But it has been the best for southern beaches so far this year, with whole beaches cleaned of sand and fish and tiny crustaceans flourishing.

“Marine life has picked up its pace very quickly,” said James Gibbons, a marine scientist at Southampton University. “There’s a good chance that during the summer the bay will become really crowded.”

As well as rambunctious rays and predatory seahorses, further south the beaches of Devon and Cornwall are a maze of deep water. More than 30% of the British sea is a layer of deep water, and the expected cool weather and high tides have brought shrimp, schools of blue, yellow and green seaside rock lobster and thousands of regurgitated algae to coastal Newquay.

Marine biologist Damian Love with a prawn on Bournemouth beach. Photograph: Tom Bradby/Getty Images

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The local tourist office said signs of summer are already showing at Codner beach in Christchurch, east Devon, where hundreds of lobster are being rescued from the sea.

“We’ve had probably more lobster than we have had for probably a couple of years,” said Robert Allen, the manager of the local seafood business. “We’ve had to move them and throw them out into the sea before – this year they’ve been swimming across the road for one of our customers.”

Allen said he expects the Lobster Haven chain to see an increase in the number of lobster it sells as demand soars. After a series of stormy days last week, cod (a delicacy that can sell for £30-£60 a kilo) were also making a comeback.

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