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STAFF REPORTER

ALARMED by several sightings of the “Portuguese Man of War” jellyfish off the coast of Ibiza last week, the Council of Ibiza has consulted with Scientific Advisory Board (CSIC) who informed that jellyfish presence will be “normal” in Balearic waters this summer.

CSIC investigator, Veronica Fuentes, said yesterday that so far as the Catalan coast was concerned, there did not appear to be an increase in the numbers of jellyfish spotted this spring, but she said that no parallel research had been carried out in the Balearics.

Fuentes said that it is normal for the occasional “Portuguese Man of War” - a jellyfish with a potentially dangerous sting - to appear in Balearic waters during the early part of the tourist season. The investigator gave reassurances that “nothing out of the ordinary has happened.” The meeting between the Council of Ibiza and the CSIC reaffirmed a “jellyfish watch” network set up between four town councils on the island. Gathering information through observation is of vital importance, said Fuentes. “It is only through registering sightings,” she claimed, “that we can make comparisons with what we believe to be normal, and thereby scale the increase - or decrease - of jellyfish activity accordingly.” Fuentes acknowledged that the sting of the “Portuguese Man of War” is much “nastier” than that of an ordinary jellyfish. Its sting and poison, she said, are not in themselves fatal, but complications can arise which could put people's lives at risk. “Some people go into shock,” she explained, “and the pain often causes vomiting.”