Rising sea temperatures are encouraging a rapid increase in UK jellyfish numbers
2011 is shaping up to be the year of the jellyfish as the wobbly wonders flourish in our waters – and boaters are being called upon to help keep a look out.
According to the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), some areas of the UK’s seas resemble a “jellyfish soup”, such as the Irish Sea where large numbers of moon, lion’s mane, blue and compass jellyfish have already been reported.
Scotland’s Torness nuclear power station even had to shut down recently when its water intakes became clogged with moon jellyfish.
“Most jellyfish bloom in summer, but some species can survive the cool winter months too,” says MCS Biodiversity Programme Manager Peter Richardson.
“This year, we received our first reports of the huge but harmless barrel jellyfish off North Wales back in early January, and this species has occurred in huge numbers in the Irish Sea and beyond ever since, with reports received from North Somerset to the Firth of Clyde.
“Since May we have also received reports of large numbers of several other species of jellyfish from various coastal all sites round the UK – it is another good year for the jellyfish!”
The MCS is asking all sea users, including boaters, to keep an eye out for jellyfish on their travels. A full-colour jellyfish identification guide can be downloaded here and you can report your jellyfish sightings on the same page.