Spain: Shock as popular tourist beaches covered with jellyfish – ‘never seen so many’

Travel ban: Epidemiologist says ‘closing borders does not work’

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La Manga is one of Spain’s top tourist areas with many British travellers visiting the region each year. The area surrounding Mar Menor is also a favourite of British expats.

Local residents found the beaches in La Manga del Mar Menor and in Cabo de Palos covered in small jellyfish.

Experts have said they believe the jellyfish were likely dragged onto the beach by strong winds.

One scientist said the jellyfish have “little movement capacity” and could not fight the powerful gusts.

Local residents said they hadn’t seen as many jellyfish in the area for at least 40 years.

One resident told a local Spanish paper: “The Galua and Marchamalo beaches are full of them. I’ve lived here for 40 years and never seen so many.”

An expert from Cartagena’s Oceanographic Research Institute said: “Something similar happened four years ago in Cartagena port and banks of this species often appear in Cabo de Palos and Calblanque, but I’ve never seen so many in this area.”

The jellyfish were from the Pelagia noctiluca species and are fairly small but have a powerful sting.

They are mauve coloured which has earned them the nicknames of the ‘Mauve stinger’ and the ‘Purple people-eater’.

The jellyfish are covered in stinging cells and are even capable of stinging for a short time after death.

A sting from one of the mauve creatures usually leads to pain that lasts for one to two weeks, redness and a rash.

Although it is painful, it is usually not seriously dangerous and there are no known fatalities from this species of jellyfish.

In very rare cases, the jellyfish sting can leave a scar if the victim has an allergic reaction to the attack.

When jellyfish wash ashore it can impact tourist resorts as it often puts off visitors for fear of being stung.

Mar Menor has suffered from pollution which has caused thousands of dead fish to wash ashore over the last couple of years.

The once beautiful lagoon is thought to have been polluted by farming waste which has led to a lack of oxygen in the water.

However, scientists have said they have ruled out a toxic cause for the mass jellyfish death as no other fish have washed ashore.

The Town Hall in Cartagena is responsible for the area and has confirmed it will remove the jellyfish on December 20.

Unvaccinated British tourists are currently banned from travelling to Spain as all Britons must be fully vaccinated to enter.

British tourists returning to the UK from Spain must take a pre-departure test before arrival in the UK.

They must then take a PCR test on or before day two after travel and self-isolate until they receive the result.

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