top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
arrow down

Jellyfish alert for the Med

Scientists say signs are ominous for invasion of stinging pests driving swimmers off beaches

RIVIERA tourist chiefs fear a massive invasion of stinging jellyfish on the Mediterranean coast this summer as hot weather has warmed up the sea, which encourages them to develop.

They forced tourists to flee from the beaches of Monaco, Antibes, Cannes and Nice last summer and researcher Floriane Delpy, a Phd student at the Mediterranean Oceanology Institute, says there are indications of a new influx.

She told Le Figaro "Nothing is certain at the moment, but several factors are pointing that direction."

And Lars Stemman, of Paris VI University at the Oceanological Observatory at Villefranche-sur-Mer, said there are "more and more" jellyfish in the waters since 2000.

He and other researchers at the observatory have set up - an internet site to warn bathers of sightings of jellyfish and to show the direction of currents.

Currents are particularly important as they push the jellyfish towards the coasts - when the currents come from the east the jellyfish arrive immediately on the beaches. Similarly, when there is a strong west wind the jellyfish arrive a couple of days afterwards.

The warm sea means that the jellyfish - known as méduses - mature more quickly and reproduce quicker. Instead of a year-long cycle some are reproducing every six or eight months.

Ms Delpy said coastal pollution also played an indirect role as jellyfish live on small shellfish, which live on the algae which bloom in polluted waters.

However, industrial fishing has also meant depleted stocks of sardines, which also eat the shellfish and indirectly keep down jellyfish numbers by depriving them of food.

The purple jellyfish Pelagia Noctiluca is particularly feared as it gives a painful sting. It can grow to 40cm across. At night, the jellyfish can give off flashes of light.

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Healthcare in France*
Featured Help Guide
- Understand the French healthcare system, how you access it and how you are reimbursed - Useful if you are new to the French healthcare system or want a more in-depth understanding - Reader question and answer section Aimed at non-French nationals living here, the guide gives an overview of what you are (and are not) covered for. There is also information for second-home owners and regular visitors.
Get news, views and information from France
You have 2 free subscriber articles left
Subscribe now to read unlimited articles and exclusive content
Already a subscriber? Log in now