Saltar Menú de navegación
Archive |

Costa del Sol news


Many beaches along the Costa del Sol were temporarily closed recently due to a large number of poisonous jellyfish
20.07.12 - 11:07 -
0 votos

Cerrar Envía la noticia

Rellena los siguientes campos para enviar esta información a otras personas.

Nombre Email remitente
Para Email destinatario
Borrar    Enviar

Cerrar Rectificar la noticia

Rellene todos los campos con sus datos.

Nombre* Email*
* campo obligatorioBorrar    Enviar
The great jellyfish invasion
A plague caused by lack of rain. José Andrés Cabeza
Many Costa del Sol beaches were swarming with more than holidaymakers and sun-worshipping locals recently, as a plague of jellyfish swept along the coastline at the start of the busy summer holiday period.
Large numbers of the poisonous invertebrates were first reported on Friday 6th July during the afternoon. Within hours many beaches were forced to hoist the red flag to prohibit swimming as more and more were being washed ashore.
In the worst affected areas, namely Rincón de la Victoria, Vélez-Málaga, Malaga capital, Marbella and Estepona, some stretches of the shoreline were still closed sporadically up to last Monday evening.
However, by last Tuesday lunchtime, even though there were still plenty of jellyfish sightings, the vast majority of the beaches were open again as the wind had changed direction, producing stronger currents which carried the creatures back out to sea.
In recent times, ‘jellyfish blooms’, which are a natural feature of the Mediterranean ecosystem, have become increasingly common in southern Spain.
But it was the scale of the recent plague that surprised many.
In the waters off Malaga city alone, approximately 4,000 kilos of jellyfish were collected by environmental agencies between Friday and Sunday evenings of last week.
And across the Coast in the same period, it is reported that more than 2,000 bathers had to be treated for jellyfish stings.
Marbella resident, Karen Eames, was one of many who sought medical treatment. She explains: “Both my daughter and I were stung on our legs on Sunday afternoon whilst messing about in the sea in Elviria.
“We went to the hospital as I was fairly panicked, especially for my five year old who was in a lot of pain.
“The nurse cleaned the stings with an alcohol-based solution and this seemed to calm them down fairly quickly. We were advised to buy cream over the counter at the chemist and this also seemed to help.
“I’ve lived in the area for years and years and you sometimes see a few jellyfish in the sea, but I’ve never seen as many as we did (on the weekend of the jellyfish invasion) – they were everywhere; it was disgusting.”
Matt Jiménez, who now lives in the Spanish capital but who was back in his hometown of Malaga recently to celebrate his 30th birthday with a day at the beach, says his much anticipated stay was overshadowed by the unwanted temporary seaside residents.
“I’d been looking forward to a party on the beach with my friends for weeks – I really miss the beach living in Madrid.
“But not being able to go in the sea ruined it a bit as what we love most is splashing around and playing frisbee in the surf.
“It was too hot to stay on the sand without dipping into the sea, so we left pretty soon and headed to the bars in Muelle Uno (Malaga’s new quayside development).” He adds: “I never remember not being able to swim in the sea due to a plague of jellyfish when we were growing up.”
Holidaymaker, Cathy Sousa, who is visiting the Costa del Sol for the first time, says she was disappointed by news she could not swim. “That’s what you come to the beach for, right? It did kind of dampen things as our expectations of a fun day at the beach in Spain where high.
“It’s no-one’s fault, I guess we were just unlucky to coincide with the jellies!”
‘Ideal conditions’
Experts insist that the high numbers of jellyfish along the Costa del Sol this week are attributable to several factors.
“Their natural habitat is more than two nautical miles off the shoreline, but what (we saw recently) is what happens when there is little rainfall in spring and the temperatures are very high as they reproduce more, making it more likely that they reach the coast and appear as swarms,” Juan Jesús Marín, a biologist at the Aula del Mar research centre, tells SUR.
UK-based scientist at the Marine Conservation Society, Tom Carter, echoes Marín’s view. He says: “With the lack of rain and soaring temperatures, which allow the jellyfish to breed more quickly, plus the ongoing problems of overfishing and pollution which kill-off their natural predators, you have the ideal conditions for a jellyfish invasion.
“They may have left the beaches of the Costas for now as the current has changed and they’ve been taken with it; but, with such jellyfish-friendly conditions, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they were back as soon as the current changes back again.
He adds: “Jellyfish are a good indicator of the state of our seas and, therefore, the wider environment.
“We must be careful the western Mediterranean doesn’t become a kind of ‘jellyfish soup.’”
Tourism industry
Such warnings about a possible, if not imminent return, are unlikely to reassure those whose livelihoods could be adversely affected.
Carlos Mata Moreno, who runs a ‘chiringuito’ (beachbar) in Marbella, comments: “The business had a very good few days last weekend because people spent more time in the bar, eating and drinking, as they couldn’t go in the sea due to the plague of jellyfish.
“However, if this happened regularly, we would almost certainly lose our entire trade as people won’t come to the beach if they’re unable to swim in the sea.
“People from places like Córdoba, Madrid, Seville, and all the foreign tourists, who form the bulk of customers, will simply go elsewhere or stay at home- something which is all too tempting with the crisis.”
Beachfront gift shop owner and self-confessed “tree-hugger,” Carrie Johnston, says: “This is the last thing small businesses need right now. We need to encourage people to come here and spend money – not give them excuses why they should stay away.
“This problem needs immediate attention and all the different authorities on a local, regional and national level must work together to find solutions.”
She continues: “We need effective response units who can move in immediately and clear the jellyfish off the beaches and out to the swimming areas.
“But what’s required long-term is an overall approach to stop them proliferating.
“This will mean addressing issues such as pollution – a major problem in parts of the coast where sewage is still pumped into the sea – as this is destroying marine wildlife, allowing the jellyfish to prosper more and more.
“The Costa del Sol’s tourist industry, which is the motor for the area’s entire economy, relies on the beaches. This problem is too serious, on many levels, to be ignored.”
For the time being, bathers and business owners are breathing a sigh of relief that the beaches’ unwelcome guests have all but gone. But how long they will remain away is a question for which no-one has the answer.


Get e-mail updates and headlines every day .... Subscribe to the newsletter