More than a hundred shellfish, starfish and even sea sponges have washed up on Mount Maunganui's Main Beach.

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Concerned resident Katrina Belle was walking on the beach by the Tay St access this morning, when she noticed loads of the sea creatures washed up on the shore.

Some alive, some dead and others dying.


Yet Professor Chris Battershill from the University of Waikato coastal marine field station said this influx of beached marine life was natural after stormy conditions.

He said it was common for this to happen from time to time when there had been long periods of severe offshore wind.

These conditions caused many small marine creatures, like starfish, to lose their grip and be pushed closer to the surf beaches, he said.

Although this was a natural event, he said the storms were becoming more severe as a result of climate change.

A similar thing happened last year, where a bunch of pufferfish was thrust on to sands.

Battershill said people should avoid touching dangerous creatures, such as blue bottle jellyfish that wash up.

A starfish washed up. Photo / File
A starfish washed up. Photo / File

But he said if things like starfish were still alive, tossing them back into the water would be wise, instead of leaving them "gasping" on the sands.

He said it may not make a difference, but it was worth a try.


If they are dead, he said it was best not to touch them as they will soon sink into the sand and nourish a range of animals.

He encouraged people to head down and have a look as it was not often such a diverse range of creatures from the ocean were on display.

"It's really good to be able to look at the diversity and get a glimpse of what is lurking in our oceans."

The stormy conditions appeared to whip up a range of strange finds, with some local residents saying they were shocked to see the remains of what they thought was a calf washed on to the beach.