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Bread and butter plate sized jellyfish on Patong beach today

Yuk! Jellyfish Plague Invades Patong Beach

Sunday, January 11, 2009
Patong Jellyfish Photo Album Above

Update: HELLO to all our Finnish fans and their friends, coming in by the hundreds to read about jellyfish! The water is still warm and the Andaman coast is a great destination, even if you have to share the sea now . . . still plenty of fun in the sun here.

JELLYFISH invaded Patong beach today, alarming some tourists and indicating the growing scale of Phuket's current problem with unwelcome marine stingers.

The plague of bluish creatures dotted the sand to the high-water mark in front of the Gracelands Resort at the southern end and spread along the beach for several hundred metres.

Dr Somchai Bussarawit, the chief of the museum and aquarium at the Phuket Marine Biological Centre, was called to investigate.

He found Patong beach peppered with the creatures. In one spot, 20 or more had been placed together.

In other parts, jellyfish dotted the beach in ones and twos. More of the bread-and-butter plate sized creatures could clearly be seen in the water.

''I have collected some samples and will see what we can determine quickly,'' he told Phuketwan as he loaded a bucket of jellyfish onto the PMBC pickup.

''Tourists are asking me about these jellyfish but I can't say at this stage whether they have the potential to sting badly or not.''

They are definitely not dangerous box jellyfish, the type that has caused concern since being discovered mid-year at one of the island's east coast mangrove beaches.

Nor are they the dinner-plate size edible jellyfish found further north, along the Andaman coastline of Phang Nga.

Officials met in Bangkok last month to plan a strategy for dealing with the potential menace of the box jellyfish, so parts of that plan went into action today.

Anutsara Suwanmarerk, on the staff at Patong Hospital, was called to the scene to deputise on behalf of the Public Health Department, which now has responsibility for alerting the public to potential marine dangers.

Being Sunday, though, officials at the local Patong tessaban authority had the day off.

Dr Somchai said that many tourists saw him gathering specimens and asked him about the jellyfish.

He thought that their questions indicated that the plan to publicise information about jellyfish on Phuket made sense, once marine biologists know more about various species and the scale of the problem.

He said that his initial thinking was that the Patong jellyfish invasion was seasonal.

To his knowledge, there had never been an invasion like it before, although algae attributed to pollution had been a problem on Patong beach at the close of high seasons recently.

Phuketwan watched tourists with interest as they encountered the jellyfish. Those familiar with jellyfish, perhaps from their home countries, did not seem especially bothered.

But others headed to swim, then turned back when they saw the creatures floating in shallow water just below the surface.

Children played at the sea's edge, unperturbed.

For many people, life went on around the jellyfish. It may be that Phuket has to learn to live with them.

Many other tourist destinations do already.

Today it was mostly business as usual in Patong. One jet ski owner appeared to be having a discussion with a tourist about a mark on the side of his jet ski.

Other visitors were being taken for a ride, on the surface above the jellyfish.

Patong, slow down? It would take more than a mere jellyfish plague.

The spread of jellyfish in tropical waters around the world has been attributed to the man-made decline in the numbers of their natural predators, fish and turtles.

Monday Update

Question: What IS that on the beach?

Dr Somchai's Report on the Patong Jellyfish

Class Scyphozoa
Order Scyphomedusae
Suborder Rhizostomae
Family Cepheidae
Specific name: Cephea cephea (Forskal)

Width about 20 cm. Pink to liliac above, brown below, with a central dome covered in 10-30 large, irregular protuberances and circled by a shallow ''moat.'' Mouth-arms recurved, with many filaments, just exceeding disc width.

Habitat: oceanic, occasionally drifting inshore.
Distribution: Tropical Indo-Pacific, N-Australia, some records W Africa.

N.B. sting harmless

Have you seen jellyfish at a beach near you? If so, please tell us in the Comment box below

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Comments have been disabled for this article.


Yes, on Kata Beach last Saturday morning (January 12th)

Posted by Ian on January 12, 2009 10:13


Nai Harn Beach is also inundated with jellyfish. Hundreds of them have washed up on shore in the past week. Normally this species is pinkish in color (at least the ones I have seen offshore when snorkeling). These have a blackish tinge which leads me to believe they are dying though for what reason I have no idea. There doesn't appear to be a stinging problem but most bathers are staying out of the water. I have lived here ten years and never experienced this phenomenon before. Water pollution is certainly a prime culprit. Only time will tell whether or not this is cyclical or destined to be an ongoing problem with Phuket's beaches.

Posted by d macdonald on January 12, 2009 10:18


Mister MacDonald has once again hit the nail right on the head. He is an astute observer of the local life and his comments can always be relied upon. Now if we could only get him to speak up about the fascinating beer bar scene we could learn plenty from this astute gentleman.
Frank Visakay

Posted by Frank visakay on January 12, 2009 14:54


Jellyfish too at Karon and Surin, on Saturday and Sunday

Posted by Jerry on January 12, 2009 14:56


Surin beach had dozens 5 days ago when I was there.

Posted by Anonymous on January 19, 2009 13:47

Thursday May 23, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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