Spain is currently struggling to cope with a plague of jellyfish, which scientists attribute to rising sea temperatures. Mediterranean seas are teeming with millions of an especially poisonous species of stinging jellyfish, the “mauve stinger”, or Pelagia noctiluca.
The Spanish Environment Ministry announced yesterday that eight tons of jellyfish have been collected and 200 volunteers recruited to help study them and figure out why they’re flooding to the Spanish coastline: in some areas, a survey by the Oceana environmental group found concentrations of more than 10 jellyfish per square metre. Factors are thought to include a rise in sea temperature and a decrease in predators, specifically sea turtles and tuna fish.
Spain relies on the many holidaymakers attracted to its beaches and is desperate to prevent its tourist industry from suffering, but the swarms are so large that some beaches have had to be closed. Numbers of lifeguards and first aid staff have been increased, and a leaflet created to warn tourists of the danger, but the Red Cross is already reporting a 50% increase from last year in the number of patients being treated for jellyfish stings.