Bangkok experts on jellyfish have joined with Phuket Public Health, Phuket hospitals and the Phuket Marine Biological Centre today and tomorrow on Phuket for a two-day seminar on jellyfish in Andaman waters.
''There have always been jellyfish in the sea off Phuket,'' one marine biologist said today from the seminar. ''There are no indications that lethal varieties can be found off Phuket's popular beaches.''
Phuket diver Joe Blasy, with 13 years' experience on Phuket, filmed jellyfish on three occasions while on night dives off Phuket's Kata beach in recent weeks.
He posted footage on YouTube in March-April and also sent the video to the Phuket Marine Biological Centre.
''The centre confirmed that the footage was of box jellyfish but that it was probably a non-lethal variety,'' he told Phuketwan today.
Mr Blasy said he filmed the small jellyfish between 50 metres and 20 metres off Kata beach using a torch on night dives.
''I'd say the bell would be about seven centimetres across with the tentacles extending for 10 to 15 centimetres.''
Sightings of jellyfish on dives off Phuket were not unusual, he said.
''I've had a friend who was stung by a jellyfish but that hardly seems to be a problem,'' he said. ''We have to share the water with them.''
Mr Blasy said it was important not to sensationalise the issue. ''I work in tourism so I don't want to alarm people unnecessarily,'' he said.
''Providing accurate, updated information is the best way to deal with the issue.''
The Phuket Marine Biological Centre responded by saying that they would like a captured jellyfish so they could confirm what type it was, he said.
No deadly or serious box jellyfish stings have been recorded on Phuket's west coast, although the expansion of jellyfish in all seas worldwide has led to Phuket authorities erecting signs on popular Phuket beaches.
The signs make the point that vinegar is the only treatment that reduces the toxicity but not the pain of box jellyfish stings.
Phuketwan has waded into the waters of an east coast Phuket bay where a small variety of the box jellyfish has existed, probably for decades if not longer.
However, like most jellyfish, they sting but are unlikely to prove lethal. The monsoon season usually brings more jellyfish to all Andaman provinces.
''The lethality of this particular species cannot be determined without examining a specimen,'' Mr Blasy said. ''Many box jellies are no more venomous than an average jellyfish.''