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Mounds of squirming maggots found feasting on seaweed along North Beach

By JASON SCHREIBER
Union Leader Correspondent

September 05. 2018 4:30PM

A cluster of maggots squirm around in seaweed on North Beach in Hampton. (Ryan Fowler)

HAMPTON - Ryan Fowler grew up in this seaside town and has discovered many things while walking its beach, but he never expected to find thousands of maggots squirming around in the seaweed on Sunday.

“My biggest regret is not taking a sample,” said the 28-year-old Fowler, who now lives in nearby Exeter. His unusual discovery has prompted an inquiry by state environmental officials.

Fowler shot video of the maggots crawling around while he and a friend were visiting North Beach, which is located just north of the main beach, on the afternoon of Sept. 2.

Fowler said he was throwing a ball to his dog when he made the unpleasant find, thousands of maggots in the seaweed and floating around in the water.

The seagulls were having a feast, said Fowler.

“As water came in with the tide and rolled back out it would leave piles of maggots,” he said.

Fowler also noticed that the air didn’t smell quite right.

“Typically I enjoy that weird marshy smell. It wasn’t quite as pleasant,” he said.

James Martin, public information officer for the state Department of Environmental Services, said he doesn’t believe that the maggots posed any public health risk.

The water at Hampton Beach was tested for bacteria last week and no problems were found, he said.

State officials have consulted with some experts who reviewed the video and confirmed that they were maggots on the beach. Martin said experts explained that it’s not uncommon for flies to feed on rotting seaweed and then lay eggs on the seaweed, especially during warmer summer months.

“We are discussing the situation with various experts looking to get their opinions on it,” he said.

Meredith Collins of the state Division of Parks and Recreation said someone had been sent out Wednesday to scan the beach and there was “no fly larvae dead or alive” in sight.

rockinghamnews@unionleader.com


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