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Dangerous jellyfish threaten beaches

Written by on May 11, 2018

Banks of two of the most harmful species in the Mediterranean are detected in the coasts of the Region in less than a month

The sea is undergoing great changes and man is not alien to these variations. Experts have detected a greater proliferation of jellyfish on the beaches of the Mediterranean in recent years, a trend that does not escape the Valencian coasts as demonstrated by the fact that in just three weeks has been corroborated the presence of two of the most dangerous of these coelentereos. 

At the end of April, the Portuguese caravel made its appearance in different Alicante municipalities. 

This week have been sighted copies of luminescent jellyfish (Pelagia noctiluca), with a particularly virulent sting, in front of several localities of Castellón.

The specimens of luminescent jellyfish have appeared in several coastal towns of the province of Castellón (Benicàssim, Castellón, among others) dragged by the wind and the marine currents. 

This coelenterate usually appears in a swarm and has a particularly virulent sting, so extreme care must be taken to avoid contact.

Helena Herrero, responsible for the jellyfish area of ​​l’Oceanographic of Valencia, explained that it is a native species of the Mediterranean that moves dragged at the mercy of the marine currents and the wind. It is a coelenterate that usually lives in deep waters, but the east has pushed it to the coasts. 

This is, in addition, the time in which it usually appears (spring and summer).

Herrero said that with the bite a burning sensation is felt on the skin, “it seems to burn,” he explained. 

The reactions depend on the sensitivity of people. It can cause headaches, vomiting, dizziness, nausea and skin irritation. In case of suffering a contact, do not use vinegar. 

“It is advisable to wash with salt water avoiding any type of rubbing and go to the nearest medical center,” stressed the biologist of Oceanogràfic. 

In addition, it is convenient to examine the wound to avoid adhering any part of the jellyfish, such as tentacles.

The species is characterized because when it is stressed produces flashes of light that are especially visible at night. It has tentacles that can be very long and thin, so its visualization is not simple. 

In addition, it reaches a length of several meters, depending on the case.

The experts point out that the appearance of these species does not have to imply a greater presence of these coelenterates during the summer. 

But José Tena, director of the Institute for Research in Environment and Marine Science of the Catholic University of Valencia (Imedmar), does relate the greater proliferation of jellyfish in the Mediterranean with anthropogenic behaviour. 

“We must be aware that we are influencing the changes that the oceans are suffering,” he explained.

The researcher stressed that the greater presence of jellyfish in the Mediterranean is “a symptom of how we are treating the sea and the oceans”, in reference to the increase of pollutant materials that are dumped.

Tena indicated that the presence of jellyfish depends on several factors such as the rainfall regime, the weather and the increase in pollution. In this sense, he explained that the abundant rainfall that has occurred this winter in the Region can influence its greater presence. 

“The different densities favor marine currents that facilitate the arrival of these animals to the coasts,” said the scientist.

The director of Imedmar stressed that with the increase in marine pollution has been detected in recent years a greater number of celéntereos on the coasts. Specifically, he mentioned that the luminescent jellyfish appears in six-year cycles.

Article: Las Provincias News

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