Palma.—Scientists at the global institute for oceanic studies OCEANA have warned that the high temperatures and a change in marine currents are going to lead to a jellyfish invasion of Balearic waters at the end of this month.

The warnings were first issued at the beginning of the summer and parts of the East coast of Spain are already seriously affected and it is going to be the Balearics next.

Last year, Portuguese Man of War, which can prove fatal, were spotted in various parts of the Balearics but so far, none have been reported this year.
But, according to oceanographer Marta Carreras, this is proving to be unusual summer. “Normally, the jellyfish pop up around now, but while there are large numbers in Murcia and Malaga, they are going to be coming much later this year. But, scientists still do not know what causes the annual jellyfish blooms.

The increase in the temperature of the water due to climatic change, the reduction in the number of predators due to over-fishing and the increase in nutrients due to contamination of the coasts may be some of the reasons, but research is on going and Carreras said that funding cuts have not helped this year.

Another aspect to bear in mind is the influence of over-fishing as certain types of fishing incidentally catch the predators of jellyfish: like the loggerhead sea turtle.

The most common jellyfish in the Balearics have a pink tint to them and, according to Carreras, the smaller they are, the tougher their sting and that if stung, the area should be washed with salt water and immediate help from beach guards sought. Fresh water should never be applied to clean the affected area as the change in salinity could cause the stinging cells adhering to the skin to burst and liberate the poison.


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