Tuesday, August 03, 2010
Mauve Jellyfish invasion closes beaches across Spain
From the Telegraph.co.uk:
Several beaches on the Costa Blanca north of Alicante were closed to bathers after swarms of the Mauve Stinger jellyfish plagued the beaches of the Mediterranean.
The tentacles of the bright purple creatures, which emit a yellow glow at night, deliver mild stings but can cause severe allergic reactions in some people even leading to heart failure.
The Red Cross treated 50 people for stings in just half an hour last Thursday on a beach in Denia, a resort on Spain's eastern Mediterranean coast and fear numbers may reach that of 2008, when a record 4,000 people were treated for stings in Denia alone.
It is one of the most popular resorts on the Costa Blanca, a region which attracts an estimated two million foreign tourists each year – 40 per cent of them from Britain.
Spain's Environment Ministry has sent boats out to patrol the coastline on the lookout for dangerous clusters of the invertebrates drifting to shore.
Once spotted, red flags will be raised to warn swimmers to stay out of the water.
Over the last several years there has been a huge rise in numbers due to the effects of global warming and overfishing of their natural predators and each summer tens of thousands of holidaymakers are forced to seek treatment for minor stings.
Marine experts have this year also detected a rise in the number of the Carybdea marsupialis, known as box jellyfish, to the Costa Blanca...
Spain's Ministry of Environment said in a statement: "The exact reasons to explain jellyfish blooms are currently under research. They seem to be increasing in recent years and the most likely causes suggested are the decline of natural predators such as turtle and tuna; changes in climatic factors such as rainfall or global temperature; hydrographic peculiarities of the area, as well as pollution from land based sources."