Mistrust of Defra over shellfish deaths is understandable given lack of clear answers - The Yorkshire Post says
The cause for the mass die-off has been greatly disputed. The original Defra-led investigation into the deaths concluded that a naturally-occuring algal bloom had killed the crustaceans.
But subsequently a panel of 13 experts said it was “unable to identify a clear and convincing single cause” but the “most likely” explanation is an unknown disease or parasite that killed the crustaceans. Dr Alex Ford, a marine biology expert who was on the panel, says that there are politicians “trying to discredit and question the integrity of the scientists” over this investigation.
Given that several members of the panel declared they had previously worked on Defra-funded research projects while one said he worked in research and consultancy projects on the River Tees that were “funded by the ports industry and by government”, it is only natural that people would call into question the investigation.
The reality is that the Government has allowed a vacuum to be created by its insistence that the matter is closed, which only leads to a lack of trust.
Indeed even Dr Ford, a professor at the University of Portsmouth, says more work can be done to establish a clear cause of the deaths. He also accepts trust in government agencies such as Defra has been eroded.
That is why this newspaper continues to ask questions about the event in 2021 and the incident at Saltburn-by-the-Sea last week that saw thousands of shellfish wash up dead.