shells on shore
Photo by Pok Rie on

Researchers from the University of York led by Bryce Stewart have found “increased levels of metal pollution (zinc, copper and lead) in sediments near the Isle of Man, resulting from historical mining, strongly correlated with significant weakening of shell strength in king scallops.” It appears that past mining practices in the Isle of Man caused an increased run-off of metals into the nearby ocean, causing scallop shells to be more brittle and vulnerable to breakages.

The newly-published research found data to suggest that the mining runoff from Laxey was correlated with “increased mortality”, even at levels below current international standards.

The research was able to find a correlation with mining and scallop shell strength by comparing scallop beds off the east coast of the Isle of Man (near to historic mines of Laxey) and scallop beds off the west coast (away from the mines).

Inline images by Bryce D.Stewart, used a Creative Commons license