October 23 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Record numbers of jellyfish sightings have been reported across the UK – however experts say they are short on data for the Suffolk and Essex coasts.
The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and the University of Exeter are aiming to identify when and where jellyfish occur in British waters as part of a new study being held for the first time in 40 years.
Last year, 1,133 reports were received, breaking previous records. And so far this year more than 500 reports have been made already – only halfway through the busy summer sighting period.
In East Anglia and south east England, however, far fewer reports have been made, prompting a marine biologists to urge coastal visitors to get in touch with any sightings.
Dr Peter Richardson, biodiversity programme manager for the MCS, said: Dr Richardson said, “We still know relatively little about jellyfish, but given the economic impacts that large numbers of jellyfish can have on tourism, fishing, aquaculture and even power generation, we can’t afford to ignore them.
“I’m always amazed by how few reports we receive from the south east - it’s very difficult to tell whether that’s because we don’t have so many jellyfish in these waters or just because people are not reporting it.”
The majority of those sightings that have been recorded in the UK have been moon jellyfish, which also make up the bulk of reports (29%) for the rest of the UK.
To take part in the survey, visit www.mcsuk.org where the full-colour MCS jellyfish photo-ID guide can be downloaded and where jellyfish encounters can also be reported.