More and more jellyfish are being seen in the southern portions of Barnegat Bay than ever before. Ted Greenberg reports.
Swimmers on the Jersey Shore are being threatened by an invasion of jellyfish that are stinging a with a vengeance this summer.
For the past few years, swimmers in the northern sections of Barnegat Bay have dealt with large numbers of the creatures which have translucent bodies and tentacles that can be more than 6 feet long, but this summer more and more are being seen in southern portions.
People who have lived in the area for decades say they've never seen so many of the creatures.
"This year’s been very rough," said homeowner Norma Terzian.
State environmental officials have launched a study to find out why the jellyfish population is growing.
Marine biologists say two possible causes are increased construction of docks and bulkheads with materials that attract baby jellyfish, and low levels of oxygen stemming from fertilizer run-off. Unlike other organisms, jellyfish don’t need much oxygen to thrive.
Dr. Paul Bologna from Montclair State University is researching the jellyfish population to find possible ways to reduce their numbers.
“What are the possibilities for control, are there mechanical ways, can you scrub them off, can you freeze them?” Bologna asked.
In the meantime, resident Carolyn Buck said she just ordered a special lotion for her family that’s a jellyfish protector and sunscreen in one.
“We don’t know who’s going to be the trial child that puts it on and goes in because it’s not going to be me,” Buck said.
Ted Greenberg contributed reporting.