THE Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (Bfar) 7 has urged the public to refrain from swimming in some parts of the sea off Mactan Island after noticing swarms of jellyfish.
Bfar 7 Director Alfeo Piloton said it is normal for jellyfish to reproduce during the summer season. Most of its species are venomous.
Bfar Provincial Fishery Office-Cebu chief Edgar Delfin said they received reports that other parts of Cebu are also affected by jellyfish.
The smack of jellyfish often leave the shores sometime in June or during the rainy season.
Over the weekend, several Facebook users posted photos of the swarm of thimble jellyfish off Barangay Marigondon and other parts of Mactan Island, Olango Island and Gilutongan Island.
Many of them suffered severe rashes and had to be taken to the hospital.
All jellyfish have nematocysts, or stinging structures, but the power of their stings can vary widely depending on the species, according to an article published online by the Mother Nature Network.
“It is a natural phenomenon. They usually come out during summertime. What we are monitoring right now are the existing fish cages because the fishermen had experiences in the past where their fish stocks were affected. They already have an idea on how to clean their fish cages without inflicting damage to the fish. This is done by observing the water current direction,” Piloton said in Cebuano.
For his part, Delfin said he has not yet received reports of people getting stung by jellyfish.
He said a jellyfish’s tentacles, which have poison, can affect the gill of a fish so it would be dangerous when a jellyfish is trapped with other fish in a net or cage.
Newly-born jellyfish, he said, are often brought by waves near the shore.
They grow in three to four weeks and swim to the deeper portions of the sea.
Delfin said the public should avoid swimming in the sea if they notice the presence of jellyfish.
If a swimmer is stung by a jellyfish, he must apply vinegar or oil on the affected skin before going to the hospital. (From HBL of SuperBalita Cebu, KAL)