ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCBD) – Dead jellyfish are lining the sand along Lowcountry beaches and now many are wondering what’s causing the problem.
Dozens of dead jellyfish have been spotted both in water and along the sand at the beach on the Isle of Palms raising the question for beach goers: why are so many washing up? Experts say it’s not completely unusual.
“Yesterday we saw maybe four or five,” said a beach goer.
Experts say the jellyfish showing up are ‘Cannonball Jellyfish’. They’re a more mild type of the species than the ones that generally sting people.
The flowy creatures by nature begin showing up in waters off the coast of Charleston as the weather and water warms up.
“They really rely on wind and water currents to and tide to move them horizontally through the water,” says Erin Weeks, a Media Coordinator with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resource’s Marine Division.
Weeks says Cannonball Jellyfish stranding’s are common May through August, particularly after storms.
“So anytime we see periods of strong onshore winds or storms offshore that would cause currents pushing jellyfish onto the beaches we’ll see stranding’s,” says Weeks.
Weeks says while the purple and clear blobs are fun to look at, they should be left alone if encountered on the beach.
“They are typically considered harmless to humans, if you do get stung by them it’ll be mild it’s more like a skin irritation,” says Weeks.
And while this type of jellyfish showing up on the Isle of Palms are mainly harmless. Weeks says other types of jellyfish packing stronger stings have also been known to call the Carolina coast home.
“So if you’re not able to identify the jelly in the water or on the beach it’s best just to avoid them because actually dead jellyfish can still sting you after they’ve been beached,” says Weeks.
Weeks says the Department of Natural Resources does not require sightings of Cannonball Jellyfish to be reported. They say beach goers can expect to stranding’s from time to time over the next several months.