Fisheries Dept: Rising sea temperatures factor in jellyfish ‘invasion’ at Kuala Penyu beach in Sabah

KOTA KINABALU, March 28 — The phenomenon of thousands of jellyfish beached at Kampung Jangkit, Kuala Penyu, yesterday which went viral on social media is closely related to the sudden tide and rising sea temperatures.

Sabah Fisheries Department director Azhar Kassim said the unusually large population of jellyfish was due to an increase in their reproduction rate due to the increase in sea temperature, in addition to the ebb and flow tides causing the jellyfish to be stranded on the beach.

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He said this incident is also closely related to the existence of food sources for zooplankton, small crustaceans and baby fish in the sea.

“The Sabah Fisheries Department has sent members from the Kuala Penyu office to the scene of the incident to monitor and investigate the unusual and dense swarm of jellyfish,” he said in a statement here today.

“The location of the area is approximately three kilometres along the coast of Kampung Jangkit. According to the residents, this is the first time there has been so many jellyfish.”

Azhar said his team has identified the type of jellyfish as “tomato jellyfish” or the scientific name being Lobonemoides robustus, and that the jellyfish was not a poisonous or dangerous type.

However, the jellyfish can cause itchiness if it comes into contact with the skin, he said.

Azhar advises the public not to worry because the jellyfish easily dies and disintegrates, which will only result in an unpleasant odour for a day or two.

He also reminded the public to avoid swimming in the sea in areas where there is a high population of jellyfish. — Bernama

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