Campaigners who blame dredging for shellfish deaths along the North East coast have called for the practice to be halted in the River Tí while inquiries continue.
Thousands of crabs and lobsters have washed up at spots across Teesside and North Yorkshire since the end of last year.
Earlier this week it was announced that a panel of independent experts would be set up to investigate the cause.
The organization behind the dredging says it started after the first deaths.
After an initial investigation, the government said a naturally occurring algal bloom was the most likely cause of the incidents but some fishermen believe dredging releases a chemical called pyridine.
‘need a break’
Campaigner Sally Bunce told BBC Look North that she welcomed the news of the independent panel’s further assessment.
She said, however, that immediate action was needed as dredging was taking place in the House River as part of the work to create a free port at South Bank Quay.
“There will be an independent investigation into the effects of dredging on this death, but in my opinion you cannot continue to do what you are investigating,” she said.
“You definitely need to put it on hold while you investigate.”
Joe Redfern, from the North East Fisheries Joint Group, said: “We’re not against free fishing, we’re not against development.
“They could continue the dredging but take everything to a landfill where it wouldn’t be releasing toxins into the sea.”
‘draw a line’
The South Tees Development Corporation said the work met “the highest standards and legal requirements set out in licenses and guidance”.
A spokesman added: “We welcome it [the] the government’s work to establish an independent panel to assess the evidence related to the shellfish dice to arrive at the truth about this matter.
“Environmental standards are important to us and, as we always have, we will always comply with the rules and laws set by government agencies. We continue to adhere to all the standards set out by Defra and the Marine Management Organisation, which continue to be exceeded. dredging as a likely cause of crustacean deaths.
“Our only dredging so far started on September 1, almost a year after the death in October 2021, [and] there were no issues.”
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