Standby for jellyfish swarms says Marine Conservation Society

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AFTER a slow start to jellyfish spotting season the Marine Conservation Society urges coastal visitors to report jelly sightings as ‘thermometers of the sea’ start to bloom.

There have been far fewer jellyfish sightings so far this year according to the society, which runs the national jellyfish survey.

Dr Peter Richardson, Biodiversity Programme Manager, said: “The incessant rain has meant there have been fewer people out on the beaches or at sea to spot them. The unusual meteorological conditions brought about changes to the jet stream which may have also affected jellyfish lifecycles at sea, although at this stage we cannot be sure.

“Some of our regular jellyfish recorders have told us they have seen fewer jellyfish so far this year.”

However the society says in the last week the numbers of reports has risen dramatically since the sunny weather and the school holidays started. Dr Richardson says the warmer weather forecast for the rest of the month may well result in more jellyfish blooms in UK waters.

This time last year some parts of UK seas had resembled a jellyfish ‘soup’ when large blooms of thousands of jellyfish were reported. So far this year, most of the sightings have come from the west coast of the UK from the Channel Islands to Argyll and have included barrel, moon and blue jellyfish sightings, whilst large numbers of compass jellyfish were recorded in south west England in late July.

No jellyfish have been reported off the coast of Lincolnshire yet but blue jellyfish, which have a mild sting, have been spotted in the sea off East Yorkshire.

To take part in the jellyfish survey download the full-colour MCS jellyfish photo-ID guide at www.mcsuk.org, where jellyfish encounters can also be reported in detail online.