By Humphrey Carter

PALMA
BALEARIC bathers are being urged to keep an eye out for jellyfish this year as the summer “invasion”, according to the experts, is expected to be similar to last year.

A few have already been spotted in the sea and washed up on the beaches in Soller, Minorca and Catalonia but marine biologist and jelly fish expert Josep Maria Gili maintains that the situation should not be any worse than last summer. “Based on the numbers of jellyfish reported over the winter, we do not expect numbers to be any greater than last season,” Gili, who also advises the central government on jellyfish, said.

However, Gili is concerned that the government has not fully introduced the National Jellyfish Plan which was devised, with his cooperation, last year.

Only Catalonia has a system in place to monitor the jellyfish activities all year round and, come the start of this summer, many other coastal regions of Spain, in particular the Balearics, were due to have similar controls in place. “We have drawn up a number of ways of effectively controlling, containing and reducing the presence and threat of jellyfish,” Gili said. “But, the government has failed to introduce them.” Gili added that, due to the lack of resources, the environmental and marine agencies will have to start the time-consuming task of hunting, locating and examining jellyfish banks in coastal areas. Between November and February of this year, a total of 30 banks of jellyfish were detected off Spain's Mediterranean coastline.

Gili said that the number is quite normal and does not suggest that the problem will be any worse than last summer. “We have the resources to deal with the situation and we also have the medical facilities to quickly treat any stings. “But we still need the government to act and enforce the National Jellyfish Plan,” he added.
Bathers in the Balearics are advised to immediately report any sightings of jellyfish to their nearest coast guard.
In the event of being stung, all of the Red Cross life guards on duty this summer have been highly trained and victims should try to reach a Red Cross centre on the beach of a coast guard as quickly as possible so the sting can be swiftly treated.

The Balearic coastal and environmental authorities will be monitoring the situation all summer.
If, and when, banks of jellyfish are located near the coast, public warnings will be issued and should be obeyed.