Jelly Fish Warning For South Coast Beaches
21 July 2011, 10:33
There's a warning if you're heading to one of the South Coast's beaches this summer.
Scientists have warned that our seas could be turned into a 'jellyfish soup' this summer.
The number of jellyfish inhabiting our waters is on the rise according to the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), with pollution, over-fishing and climate change among the theories being used to explain the increase.
"There is strong evidence that jellyfish numbers are increasing around the world, including UK seas, and these increases have been linked to factors such as pollution, over-fishing and possibly climate change,'' said MCS biodiversity programme manager Peter Richardson.
"We should consider jellyfish populations as important indicators of the state of our seas, and the MCS jellyfish survey helps provide some of the information we need to understand more about them."
Species usually seen in British waters are the barrel, moon, compass, blue and lion's mane jellyfish. Those brave enough to get close to the jellyfish are being urged to 'look but not touch', as although most of the species have only a mild sting, some, like the lion's mane, which usually comes as far south as the Irish Sea and Norfolk, have a strong - but none-fatal - sting.
Torness, near Dunbar in Lothian, was shut down for two days after jellyfish inundated the seas near the site.
"Most jellyfish bloom in summer, but some species can survive the cool winter months too,'' Mr Richardson added.
"This year, we received our first reports of the huge but harmless barrel jellyfish off North Wales back in early January, and this species has occurred in huge numbers in the Irish Sea and beyond ever since, with reports received from north Somerset to the Firth of Clyde.
"Since May we have also received reports of large numbers of several other species of jellyfish from various coastal all sites round the UK."
Anyone who wants to report a sighting should visit www.mcsuk.org.