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Storms wash up jellyfish on coast

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ALL manner of curios, including the hazardous Portuguese man o’war jellyfish, have washed up on Guernsey’s beaches in the wake of Storms Ciara and Dennis.

Strong winds and high tides. (27218255)

The agitated seas also washed up a 10ft aluminium barge from Guichard, France, and a lifebuoy from the cargo ship Medemborg, a sister ship of the Vermontborg which got lodged on La Capelle reef for two weeks back in 2003.

Conservationist Richard Lord discovered the six Portuguese man o’war beached at Petit Port on the weekend.

The creatures, which are not actually jellyfish but a colony of individual organisms called polyps, have a nasty sting and can grow tentacles up to 160ft long.

Mr Lord said he had seen more of the colourful creatures, which have a petrol-like sheen to their sacks, in recent years. He advised people to give them a wide berth.

‘They have numerous tentacles and are highly venomous.’

‘They fire out a harpoon-like stinger at your skin, which is triggered on touch and even when washed up on the beach they’re still highly dangerous.’

A spokesperson from the Biological Records Office suspected an unseasonably warm winter could have contributed to their appearance.

‘While it has been quite a wet winter, it’s not been that cold in the sea. They are quite far north for this time of year. We’re at the northern end of their range and rising sea temperatures increase the time they spend near here.’

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The spokesperson advised that dogs will likely steer clear of any danger naturally, but advised people should exercise caution and keep a close eye on children.

The strong winds responsible for driving the creatures from their natural open-water habitat have settled down somewhat, although are forecast to slowly build to a south/south-westerly force five or six on the weekend.

The worst of the rain is over too, although it will be occasionally heavy on Thursday afternoon. The sun should return for periods on Friday and Sunday is expected to be clear too, although there will be occasional showers on Saturday.

Zach Coffell

By Zach Coffell
News reporter

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