Unsettled weather brings floods of jellyfish to Costa Blanca beaches.
CONCERNED beach-goers have been posting photos of a staggering number of jellyfish washed up on Costa Blanca shores in recent days, but the experts agree that, for the most part, they are not to be feared. While the current critters closely resemble the deadly Portuguese man o’ war, they are in fact completely harmless.
According to Spanish daily La Sexta, strong easterly winds over the past couple of weeks have led to a raft of the sea creatures being dragged to the Spanish coast from east to west, resulting in higher than usual numbers not just in Alicante, but on the beaches of Mallorca and the Costa del Sol also.
The biologist said: “We are receiving notices from all the points where there are people walking, swimming… it is widespread.”
The jellyfish, known as By-the-wind-sailors, have sails on their backs that allow them to catch the wind and travel on ocean currents, but they are at the mercy of the wind with hundreds, and sometimes thousands, frequently washed up on Mediterranean beaches after stormy weather.
Opinions are definitely divided on the presence of this slimy sea life on Spanish beaches, but jellyfish are a vital part of the ecosystem all over the world and experts have warned that an increased amount of plastic waste in our oceans is threatening these creatures. According to the Marine Pollution Bulletin prepared by the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, “30 jellyfish were collected on the beach of Las Canteras, and the micro-plastics in their gastrovascular cavity and tentacles were analysed. In 29 of 30 jellyfish studied, remnants of marine debris were found.”
Last year, campaigners in France told Sky News that if single-use masks continue being used at the current rate, there could soon be more masks than jellyfish in the Mediterranean.