- Hordes of Portuguese man-of-war are washing up on the beaches of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, stinging life guards and swimmers and forcing the closing of beaches. This is an an uncommon occurrence in these northern waters, as these creatures are native to the warmer waters of the Caribbean. Although their sting is not lethal, the presence of the masses of strange gelatinous blobs with tentacles is affecting the quality of vacationers here and around the world.
- Jellyfish numbers have also been rising in the Mediterranean for several years now, a development with negative economic impact for vacation destinations. The coasts of Greece, Spain and Malta have been particularly hard hit by swarms of the mauve stinger or Pelagia noctiluca, a particularly venous member of the species. According to reports, there are once popular Mediterranean tourist beaches where swimming is permitted for only one week a year now due to the proliferation of the jellies. Swarms have been measured at several miles long, with a density of 30 to 40 jellyfish per square meter and larger than normal individual jellyfish. Major mauve stinger blooms have happened in the past but at intervals of 15 years or more. In this century however, major blooms been recorded in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2012 and 2013. About 150,000 swimmers are now stung on Mediterranean coasts each year.
- Once rare giant black sea nettles have been stinging swimmers in the waters off San Diego in 2013 and 2012. These fascinating monsters can be as large a five feet across at the bell with tentacles as long as 30 feet. They normally live in deep waters far off the coast, but warming ocean waters are now bringing them closer to shore.
- Likewise, the coasts of Queensland Australia are under siege by tiny irukandji. the most venomous of all jellyfish. The Irukandji venom is about 1,000 more potent than that of a tarantula. They are believed to be responsible for the death of two snorkelers recently.
- In 2012, the Diablo Canyon nuclear station in California, was completely closed after a swarm of salp clogging filters that are intended to keep out marine life and make sure the station runs cool.
CatastropheMap has been covering the jellyfish phenomenon for several years now (including the shutdown of several power plants in 2011) , and while we have facetiously floated the idea that this global movement of jellyfish is directed by the universal jellyfish mind, we understand that this scenario is unlikely. The causes of the build up of jellyfish of a types – large or small, lethal or just painful – are global warming, over fishing and collapse of predator populations such as sea turtles. After 500,000,000 years on the planet, jellyfish are today a symptom of the general degradation of the planet. As the End Times get underway this decade, it will become more and more evident that man will be sharing the remains of the planet with the least desirable of species. While jellyfish are beautiful in an other worldly way, an ocean full of them is unpleasant to contemplate.