▲ Above, Nomura's jellyfish. Below, Flower Umbrella jellyfish. Top photo by Kim Kwong Bok, Lower photo by Park Jung Kwon
Those that fish Jeju’s waters let out a resounding sigh of relief this past August as three large blooms of jellyfish, totaling more than 150,000 of the aquatic creatures, passed by the island without creating much damage.
According to Chang Soo Jung, a research scientist from the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute, the blooms were spotted heading towards Jeju on July 22. The cause for concern came from the fact that, “If there are too many jellyfish, due to their heavy weight, fishing nets could be damaged. Also, if the fishermen catch the jellyfish along with other fish, it could not only hurt the fisherman [due to their poisons stingers], but also depreciate the quality of their fishery,” Chang said. On average, the jellyfishes’ migration pass Jeju creates 17 billion won worth of damage annually.
Adding more stress to the situation was that among the blooms Nomura’s jellyfish were seen, which in previous years, the jellyfish significantly adds to the amount of damage. Growing over two meters and weighing more than 100 kilograms, Nomura are not only a threat to fishing nets and boats, but to holiday-makers unfortunate enough to come into contact with them. “The Nomura’s jellyfish is poisonous,” Chang said. “When stung it usually leaves a small scar, but if it is severe, it could lead to dyspnoea or paralysis.”
Chang stated, due to the jellyfish migration forecast, determined by calculating the wind and current, Normura’s jellyfish were predicted to pass the southern end of Jeju on way to Japan, but fortunately, on Aug. 4 no Nomura’s jellyfish could be seen within the blooms.
Of the 160,000 jellyfish, 90 percent passed Jeju’s southern coast, while the remaining 10 percent moved into the West Sea. “The damage on Jeju was not extensive,” Chang said, though no specific figures were given.
However, as of Aug. 23, the Coast Guard has reported an uptick in swimmers being stung in yet another wave of jellyfish blooms at beaches around the island. Six people were reported injured. If stung by a poison jellyfish rub the abrasion with alcohol to help remove the venom and apply antihistamine ointment or cream. If symptoms persist, call 119 or head to the nearest hospital.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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