Jellyfish flock to Coast beaches after big wet

An influx of little Catostylus jellyfish have been inhabiting the waters of the Capricorn Coast this summer. Photo Sophie Jackson / Capricorn Coast Mirror
An influx of little Catostylus jellyfish have been inhabiting the waters of the Capricorn Coast this summer. Photo Sophie Jackson / Capricorn Coast Mirror Sophie Jackson RCC100112jellyfis

WITH the northerly winds blowing during the past few weeks, Capricorn Coast waters have experienced an influx of blubbery jellyfish.

Catostylus jellyfish don't usually frequent these waters, but according to Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) there have been larger numbers in the water.

"We are also seeing them around all beaches in our region including the Capricorn Coast, Tannum Sands, Agnes Water, Bundaberg and Hervey Bay," a SLSQ representative said.

Surf Life Saving Queensland was unable to provide a reason for the increased numbers, other than favourable conditions for the jellyfish.

But local boaties report that the catosylus seem to grow in number after a big wet season and attribute the rise to the increased nutrient levels and bait fish in the bay after such a season.

Swimmers have reported stings at local beaches in recent weeks and surf lifesavers have reported sightings of other less common stingers such as morbakka and cyanea.

To avoid getting stung by jellyfish, swimmers can use stinger suits and walk the high-tide mark before entering the water to check for washed-up stingers.

The common bluebottle is usually evident on the region's beaches when northerly winds blow, but this year the catostylus are in larger numbers.

The treatment for jellyfish stings is constantly being revised.

Most stings only require treatment with water and ice, however stings from irukandji and box jellyfish require vinegar and medical assistance.

If you are stung by catostylus, the best treatment is to first remove any adhering tentacles, wash the affected area in sea water and then apply ice or cold packs for 10 minutes or until the pain diminishes.

 Treatment for blue bottle (physalia) requires immersing the stung area in hot water after washing with sea water or cold packs. There is no evidence that the pressure immobilisation technique will decrease venom absorption.

Safe swimming tips

To prevent getting stung by the marine stingers, take the following precautions and ensure your day at the beach is enjoyable:

  • Always swim at patrolled beaches between the red and yellow flags.
  • Only swim in stinger nets if they are provided. They afford a high degree of protection.
  • However, they are not stinger proof - irukandji are small enough to get through the net. In order to avoid a sting, check with the patrolling lifesaver/lifeguard.
  • Do not interfere with the stinger nets or sit on the floating pontoons.
  • It is recommended that a full-body lycra wet/stinger suit (or equivalent) be worn to provide a good measure of protection against marine stings.
  • Slowly enter the water - marine stingers will often move away given the time and opportunity.
  • Look for and obey safety signs.
  • Do not enter the water when beaches are closed.
  • Ask a lifesaver/lifeguard for help and advice if you need it.
  • Do not touch marine stingers washed up on the beach, they can still sting you.
  • If you are taking out your own boat, take a bottle of household vinegar with you to treat potential stings and make sure you can contact medical aid if required.
  • If in doubt of irukandji sting, treat as irukandji and seek medical aid.

Topics:  capricorn coast jellyfish

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