NBC10 - Ted Greenberg
Large numbers of jellyfish are being seen along the Jersey Shore this summer, so state environmental officials have launched a study to find out why it the population is increasing. NBC10's Ted Greenberg reports.
If you're headed to the Jersey Shore this weekend, you might want to watch where you are swimming. That's because there's a jellyfish invasion in parts of Ocean County.
“They’re just really long, huge tentacles," said Michael Buck. The 11-year-old boy says he's staying out of the lagoon behind his family's home in Stafford Township after getting stung by jellyfish three times in the past few weeks.
“I’m just getting scared that I’m gonna get stung again," said Buck.
There's an abundance of the "Sea Nettle" jellyfish in the waters of the Barnegat Bay right now. For the past few years, this type of jellyfish has been in the northern parts of the bay.
It's unknown why more of them are being spotted in the southern parts and it's also unknown where their population is growing everywhere in the bay.
Dr. Paul Bologna, Director of Marine Biology and Coastal Sciences at Montclair State University, says one possible explanation is an increase in the construction of docks and bulkheads, using materials that seem to attract baby jellyfish.
“All of these new places are areas that jellyfish polyps, the very smallest individuals, can settle," said Dr. Bologna, who is researching the Sea Nettles.
NBC10 got a peek at his research today, as he put small plastic plates in the water to collect the jellyfish offspring, to find possible ways to reduce their numbers.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection says another possible cause of the abundance of jellyfish could be nutrients in the water, like nitrogen, which causes a loss of oxygen in the bay. The D.E.P says this can give jellyfish an advantage over other species.
The state already has tough laws on fertilizer use, which is one way to reduce nutrient pollution.