Prevailing northeast winds have pushed large numbers of jellyfish onto the beaches and up the inlets at Narooma and Bermagui over the past week.
Did you know that the collective noun for jellyfish is either a “smack” or “fluther”!
The smacks of jellyfish, ranging from a bright red colour to a more bleached white, were seen in big numbers along the Narooma boardwalk and bridge on the weekend, as well as at the open beaches at Dalmeny and Mystery Bay.
“The white ones were really strange. They were just like big white blobs and they were hugging rocks or the bottom,” Narooma News reader Wendy Trigg reported. “They were on the south side of the boardwalk up where you normally see all those little crabs at low tide. There were heaps of red ones both tiny and larger all the way along the boardwalk.”
The jellyfish do have a mild sting and a number of parents have reported their kids getting stung while swimming.
Kristy Bruce posted on the Narooma News Facebook page: “We saw heaps washed up on the beach over the weekend too. My little boy got stung while swimming.”
While Sarah Fisse posted: “Yes my daughter got stung on the face. She said it felt like it was burning but she was fine in the end.”
Commercial trap and line fisherman Jason Moyce, who goes under the moniker ‘Trapman Bermagui’, has also been impacted on by the jellyfish, particularly his fish traps.
“Traps covered in purple jelly fish today,” he posted on his Facebook page last week. “Not good for fishing at all. Water is still cold in close and tide running north, hard today. Might be a late summer on the South Coast this year...”
A couple of weeks previous, he reported the ocean off Bermagui is full of purple jelly fish. “Haven't seen these stingers this thick before. Always good fun while winching up the trap ropes! Got to watch the eyes.”
Then this week the jellyfish were even thicker off Bermagui and he posted another video on his Trapman Bermagui Facebook page.
“There are millions and millions of there's bloody things on the South Coast at the moment.. not making for fun fishing. Especially as a trapper...” he posted.
Mr Moyce reckons the creatures he has been encountering are the lion’s mane jellyfish, the same variety he encountered off Sydney years ago but not as many or as big.
According to Wikipedia, the lion's mane jellyfish, also known as the giant jellyfish or the hair jelly, is the largest known species of jellyfish. Its range is confined to cold, boreal waters of the Arctic, northern Atlantic, and northern Pacific Oceans.
The reason for jellyfish blooms around the globe has been attributed to warming or more nutrient rich waters.
The Narooma News contacted leading research scientist Dr Lisa-ann Gershwin at the Australian Marine Stinger Advisory Services website. Click here
Dr Gershwin identified the jellyfish in the photos is a Cyanea, or lion’s mane, or snottie, or hair jelly, as it goes by many names.
“There are many species around the world -- even Australia has at least about a dozen that I know of so far,” she said. “The giant one in the NE Atlantic mentioned in the article is one such species in the group. The largest Cyanea species in Australia gets to about a meter and a half across the body. They sting, by the way. They pack a good wallop, but are not considered life threatening.”
This is not the first jellyfish plague in the area. See related stories: