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Jellyfish kill up to 20,000 Clare Island salmon


Jellyfish have more than sting in their tails for Clare Island salmon

Áine Ryan

WEEKS after a Clare Island man ended up in hospital due to jellyfish stings, it has emerged that up to 20,000 farmed salmon, situated in cages off the north-east coast of Clew bay outpost were lost because of the same marine species.
Marine Harvest, the aquaculture company that runs Clare Island Sea Farms Ltd, has confirmed the massive losses occurred in recent days and were due to warmer sea temperatures, which have led to similar incidents in fish-farms across Europe.
There have already been reports of strandings of jellyfish ‘blooms’ (groups) along the coast with thousands of Pelagia Noctiluca or Mauve Stinger occurring off Ballyferriter, Dingle, in late August and off Donegal early in September.   This species inflicted losses of over €1 million at a fish farm in Glenarm Bay, County Antrim, back in 2007 when a reported 120,000 fish died.
Speaking to The Mayo News yesterday, Dr Peter Gill, a retired Professor of Education in the University of Gavle in Sweden and a longtime resident of Clare Island, revealed that he ended up in a Swedish hospital after a recent encounter with jellyfish while swimming at The Cove on Clare Island.
“It’s funny now but it was a shock to dive into The Cove about three weeks ago, thinking that the ‘brown stuff’ I thought I could see in the ripples was seaweed that had been blown in by the easterly wind.  Little did I know, that  from the top of my head  to my big toes,  I was inundated with jellyfish stings.  I was stung and scratching when I got out of the water and got into a warm bath when I got home.  It itched here and there but I thought no more of it,” Peter Gill said.
 “A week later, I was in Sweden, and had to go to A&E.  I was beginning to scar and swell. Purple lines kept popping up along my arms, eyelids, earlobe, backside, legs and feet..  An intensive course of antihistamines and I was okay after 24 hours,” he continued. 
Adding: “Now I know how the poor salmon feel.  I am still scratching scabs a month later.”