If you walk along the beach anywhere from Whitby to Sandsend, you may notice a whitish residue at the high tide line. It looks like some sort of scum that's been washed up by the sea. In actual fact it's made up of millions of tiny crustaceans' bodies. The same thing is being reported from Redcar and Saltburn too.
They look like the sandhoppers you normally find on seaweed left high and dry up the beach that jump away as soon as you disturb them, and they are related, but in fact they're hyperiid amphipods, probably of the genus Themisto. Nobody as far as I know has categorically identified them yet though.
These creatures are not normally found on beaches. They live in huge swarms in the open sea, generally in mid water feeding on tiny crutaceans called copepods. As part of the zooplankton amphipods are an important food source for many fish, equivalent to krill.
Interestingly there was another mass stranding of amphipods in 1966, which was also a year when Ray's Bream occurred on the North East coast. Maybe the two things are linked. Possibly the bream are following the swarms of amphipods into northern waters. Of course the real reason for these odd occurences is not known, but the sheer amount of these tiny washed up bodies is quite spectacular.
Stay tuned for more news on this riveting topic as it occurs. I mean you wouldn't want to miss any further dead shrimp related developments would you?