Steer clear of jellyfish on beaches

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BEACH-goers are being warned to take extra care after swarms of jellyfish have been spotted along the North-East coast.

Hartlepool lifeguards say they have noticed an increase in numbers of the creatures, which can deliver a nasty sting, during the recent warm weather.

Hundreds have been reported washed up on beaches along the coast from Berwick to Teesside.

Debbie Kershaw, Hartlepool Borough Council’s quality and safety officer, said: “We did see an influx about two weeks ago.

“It was unusual for the time of year as we normally see them around the end of July and August then they disappear again.

“If you see one stay away from it. If you are stung the best thing to do is wash it with sea water.

“You can also try malt vinegar, although not everyone has that at the beach.

“Their sting is alkaline so you need something acidic to work against that.”

Town lifeguards have not received any reports on Hartlepool’s beaches in the past week.

Marine biologists believe the recent increase may be down to the warmer weather and greater levels of algae, their main food source. Strong summer currents can also draw them closer to the coast.

Jellyfish can appear in “blooms” which can be hundreds of thousands strong.

The North Sea is home to around eight species with the most common variety in this area being moon jellyfish or stinger jellyfish.

Ms Kershaw said: “They can just give you a nasty sting. In warmer climates like Japan and Australia you can get really bad ones like the box jellyfish that can kill you, but we have got nothing like that in these waters.”

Last week both reactors at the Torness nuclear power station in Scotland were shut down as a precaution after large numbers of jellyfish were found in sea water entering the plant and were obstructing cooling water filters.

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