Record haul of jellyfish follows rain
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.