Jellyfish stings tourists, water tourism halts

Jellyfish stings tourists, water tourism halts
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WATER tourism activities in the town of Moalboal, southern Cebu, have been suspended until further notice following reports that at least four individuals had been stung by box jellyfish.

An estimated 80 boat captains and boatmen will be affected by the order issued by the local government unit of Moalboal. The cancelled activities include island hopping and snorkeling.

Earlier, the Moalboal Coast Guard Substation (CGSS) received reports that four people were stung by box jellyfish while snorkelling and island hopping.

The incident happened in an area popular with snorkelers for sardine run diving expeditions.

The four local and foreign tourists stung by the poisonous jellyfish were immediately brought to Badian District Hospital and were reported to be in stable condition.

According to the Philippine Coast Guard functions, ‘Maritime safety or Marsaf function is designed to help prevent or minimize unnecessary loss of lives and properties at sea. PCG is also responsible in issuing permits and supervises all marine salvage operations.’

Acting CGSS Commander PO2 Robinsons Casabuena, in an interview, said the presence of box jellyfish is due to the southwest monsoon or ‘habagat.’

Moalboal has more than a hundred registered boats for tourists plying at least 40 island hopping trips a day during low season or on weekdays.

According to Janessa Aballe, a boat owner, she can earn around P1,000 for island hopping trips depending on the season.

“P900 to P1,000 for a boat although not everyday since it’s not peak season and there are other boats in the queue as well,” Aballe said in Cebuano.

Last June 25, 2023, SunStar Cebu reported that a 31-year-old woman had died after she was stung by a box jellyfish while swimming in a public beach in Barangay Pook, Sta. Fe town, Bantayan Island.

According to National Geographic, the venom of the infamous box jellyfish is considered to be among the most deadly in the world, containing toxins that attack the heart, nervous system, and skin cells.

“It is so overpoweringly painful, human victims have been known to go into shock and drown or die of heart failure before even reaching shore. Survivors can experience considerable pain for weeks and often have significant scarring where the tentacles made contact,” the National Geographic report further said. / CDF

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