Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain
in the Autumn for a month or so

'Fair and softly goes far' - Miguel de Cervantes

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Jellyfish sightings off Spanish coasts almost non-existent so far this year

Jellyfish sightings off the Spanish coast have been virtually non-existent so far this summer, according to the Spanish Institute of Oceanography ("Instituto Español de Oceanografía" - IEO).

Ignacio Franco, researcher at the Murcia Oceanographic Institute ("Centro Oceanográfico de Murcia") has confirmed that the jellyfish situation this year so far is "very quiet" and that so far no sightings of Portuguese "man o' war" jellyfish (Physalia physalis) have been reported. He clarified that this is in fact a migratory species, topped by a flotation chamber in which it makes and stores gases that make it subject to wind currents, unlike other species of jellyfish, and that whether it moves into the Mediterranean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean (usually from the months of February to June) depends on whether there have been westerly winds blowing in the area near the Straits of Gibraltar. Although there remain significant numbers of these jellyfish in the Atlantic, with some incidence of westerly winds, the prediction is that it is unlikely there will be significant further transfers into the Mediterranean this year, although it cannot be ruled out entirely.

As this species can inflict a painful sting, and occasionally give rise to additional severe medical problems, it is best to avoid being stung if possible and to observe any precautionary notices that may be issued.

The situation this year is an improvement on when I last wrote about this problem in April 2010, when around a dozen of these jellyfish were spotted off the Murcian coast, so is likely to be a more pleasant and risk-free summer for swimmers.

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