Rise in invasive jellyfish in waters along Med coasts worrying

Rise in invasive jellyfish in waters along Med coasts worrying

Rise in invasive jellyfish in waters along Med coasts worrying

An invasive jellyfish species named “Rhopilema Nomadica” has become a threat to the ecosystem of the Mediterranean Sea, fisheries, tourism and also human health, Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TÜDAV) has warned.

Swarms of the invasive jellyfish entered the Mediterranean Sea through the Suez Canal at the end of the 1970s and were seen on the coasts of the eastern Mediterranean, in particular Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Cyprus and Turkey, according to TÜDAV.

Noting that a rise in the number of this jellyfish species has been witnessed in the months of February and March in recent years, the foundation stated that this species multiplied excessively in waters along the Antalya coast in 2009 and 2010 and had negative effects.

Reminding that the increase in jellyfish population, which started at the end of winter due to rising seawater temperatures, is likely to increase further in the coming days, the foundation warned citizens to be careful and avoid contact with them.

Effects such as inflammation, itching, redness of the skin and blistering can be seen when contacted with this species due to its caustic capsules, a statement released by the organization said.

“In addition, more serious clinical cases can be seen in allergic bodies. Especially children should not touch jellyfish that have washed up on the shores, and if they do, they should not rub their hands on their bodies and eyes,” the statement added.

The organization also included measures to be taken in case of possible contact in its statement.

“It is recommended to wash only the area that has come into contact with salt water, ammonia, or vinegar. In serious injuries, it is necessary to consult a doctor,” it said.

Last month, a large number of jellyfish was caught in the nets of fishermen off Hatay’s Samandağ coasts.