Mystery surrounds moon pippi kill

WAVES of dead and dying moon pippies have been washing ashore in the lead-up to Easter, prompting concern that the kill is the result of poisoning.

However, the reports are spread between Belongil and Evans Head, and has been specific to the species, suggesting that the pippies’ dying is the result of some natural process.

Moon pippies are well known as gun whiting bait and are usually washed up after a big sea.

“I have seen this before, among moon pippies, but never in these numbers,” said The Northern Star fishing writer Tony Zann, better known as Barry Cooda.

Mr Zann said the kill was limited only to moon pippies, scientifically known as Austromactra which live in deeper water beyond the shore break. The common pippi, Plebidonax deltoides, lives in the intertidal zone but none of these were found dead or dying on the beach.

Mr Zann said the kill was not limited to one age group but most of the dead pippies were about two-thirds grown.

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