Record haul of jel­ly­fish fol­lows rain

Townsville Bulletin - - News - by Alexis Gill­ham alexis. gill­ham@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

ONE of the largest box jel­ly­fish hauls to be dragged on Mag­netic Is­land has come in the wake of the large amount of rain in the re­gion.

Horse­shoe Bay, where the box jel­ly­fish in­flux has hit worst, has also been left with m u r k y w a t e r f r o m t h e drench­ing.

The beach is renowned for the large num­ber of stingers due to its lo­ca­tion close to a ma­jor creek, which is the breed­ing ground f or t he stingers.

Townsville Re­gion Life­guard su­per­vi­sor Rus­sell Blan­chard said the large amount of rain caused the stingers to be washed out of this in­let and into the ocean.

‘‘ The stingers are not big but some are get­ting up to 15cm which is close to ma­ture,’’ he said. ‘‘ The beach is still open be­cause we have not dragged any stingers from in­side the stinger net.

‘‘ This just shows how well the stinger nets work.’’

He said the num­ber of s w i mme r s o n Ma g n e t i c Is­land had been very quiet since Cy­clone Yasi, with the is­land still re­cov­er­ing from the dam­age.

De­spite this he said it was es­sen­tial those us­ing the beaches swam in the nets.

‘‘ The wa­ter is very dirty a nd v i s i b i l i t y i s hal f a me­tre,’’ Mr Blan­chard said.

‘‘ We check the nets reg­u­larly to make sure they have no holes and have not re­ceived any dam­age.

‘‘ We still need to re­in­force that swim­mers stay a safe dis­tance from the net – at least 2m away but up to 3m.

‘‘ Box­ies can have ten­ta­cles up to 3m long and when they are drift­ing past the net there is noth­ing to say they won’t get through.’’

He said life­guards were also re­quired to in­crease their own safety pre­cau­tions dur­ing such large in­fluxes of stingers.

‘‘ It only takes a lit­tle piece of ten­ta­cle to cause a sting,’’ he said.

Just a few weeks ago two teenagers were rushed to Townsville Hos­pi­tal af­ter be­ing stung by an irukandji on Mag­netic Is­land.

Marine stingers have also been re­ported as reach­ing p l a g u e p r o p o r t i o n s a t Bowen.

Sim­i­lar con­di­tions are bei n g e x p e r i e n c e d f u r t h e r south with Proser­pine Hos­pi­tal record­ing four marine stings over the sum­mer.

Mackay Base Hos­pi­tal recorded 17 pa­tients with marine stings since Oc­to­ber 1 last year, in­clud­ing seven irukandji and six box jel­ly­fish stings.

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