PALMA
THE Balearic authorities need to get their act together to combat a plague of jellyfish threatening the Islands' traditional favourite bathing areas, warned an Environmental director yesterday.

Diego Ponce, a senior figure at Cap Blanc's Marine Species Conservation group claimed that central and regional government calls for dragnetting operations and plans for co-operation from local fishermen in the form of mobile phone warnings to advise of the whereabouts of the “stinging scourge” are really only at draft stage, even though the summer season is well underway.

Under no illusion that the paperwork was going to be swiftly processed to enable “anti-jellyfish” measures to be put into action, Ponce said that in the face of a sluggish government response swimmers could well be advised that the only way to avoid the nasty stings produced by this type of marine creature at this time of year, is to take into account the state of the winds because the stronger they blow, the more highly concentrated will be the shoals of jellyfish.

Bathers will therefore be safest to go into the sea on the opposite side of the Island where onshore winds would hardly be noticed.
In the small coves, Ponce furthered, there is no guarantee that the waters are jellyfish free because even if the area is sheltered at that moment from onshore winds, there still may be groups of the invertebrate stingers that have been unable to exit the enclosed waters of the inlet.

Temperature is also a key factor in the rate that jellyfish reproduce and the hot weeks recently experienced have given a boost to their multiplication of numbers.

Ponce said yesterday that the waters of Sant Antoni are less laden with jellyfish now than they were last week, “although new shoals are known to have entered.” In the event of being stung by a jellyfish, experts recommend seeking Red Cross assistance if it is at hand; always carry “anti-jellyfish cream” to be prepared for an unfortunate sting, and if bathers are unlucky enough, the affected part should be laid back into salt water to soak, never into fresh water. “This is to ensure that any segments of jellyfish tentacle don't remain latched onto the skin.” A general antiseptic is then recommended.
The proliferance of jellyfish has been blamed on climate change and on a reduction in the numbers of predators.

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