Why dozens of dead jellyfish have washed up on Blackpool beach – and are they dangerous?

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Beach-goers have been warned to stay away from stranded jellyfish and what you should do if you see one


Stranded jellyfish on Blackpool beach
Stranded jellyfish on Blackpool beach

People venturing out to the coast have been advised by experts to “keep away from stranded jellyfish” as an influx of the sea creatures have been seen washed up on the shore.

One sunseeker told LancsLive that when they visited Blackpool Beach yesterday they spotted dozens of dead jellyfish – with the sight “freaking out” children.

We decided to turn to the experts to find out what has caused the sudden appearance of washed up jellyfish on our shores.

Marine experts say that the scorching temperatures seen over the last few days could be the reason why so many have washed up, and more could make an appearance over the coming days.

Whilst stranded jellyfish on places such as Blackpool Beach is not a rare sighting, Dr Barry Kaye says people still need to be made aware of potential dangers.

He said: “ Not all jellyfish are dangerous; the species common to UK waters almost never cause fatalities.

“The effect of the sting varies between people, and circumstances, but it can be bad enough to cause anaphylactic shock.

Family days out to the beach are more of a regular occurrence now with better weather and school holidays but jellyfish stranded off the beach can be a problem for children who may want to touch or go near them.

Dr Kaye said: “Children are more at risk than adults due to their small size.

“If you are not able to identify that the species involved is ‘safe’, it is best to keep them away from any stranded jellyfish, or from swimming if jellyfish are visible in the water.

“Getting stung can be painful enough to ruin a seaside experience.

“Beached jellyfish will normally die before the returning tide re-floats them, but their stinging cells continue to work for a long time, so unless you know that a species is safe, you should not handle it.”

Jellyfish wash up on the shores as temperatures increase
Jellyfish wash up on the shores as temperatures increase

When coming across a stranded jellyfish, it can be tempting to want to do something to help and some people have been known to attempt to put the sea creature back into the water.

However, as the jellyfish may have been on the shore for some time, it is unlikely that it can be revived by returning it to water.

Dr Kaye said: “Most species rely on fine tentacles to catch food, and these are either broken off or dry out very quickly after beaching, so the animal is unlikely to survive being returned to the water – as a consequence it is rarely worth the trouble unless seeing it in water would help you identify the species.

“They don’t have eyes that can detect approaching land, and they do not, in any case, appear to have the reasoning capacity to navigate away from it.

“As a consequence wind and tide can push massive swarms of them ashore, where they die due to mechanical injuries and dehydration.”

Blackpool council have been made aware of the jellyfish and have seen them come and go over the years.

A spokesperson for Blackpool council has said: “It is common to see jellyfish on Blackpool beach at certain times of the year.

“As with all marine creatures we would advise members of the public not to touch them.”