Natural Disasters

Cyclone Yaas may have caused jellyfish to wash up on Puri beach: Experts

Strong winds and high tidal waves under the influence of the cyclonic storm might have caused the jellyfish to be washed ashore

By Hrusikesh Mohanty
Published: Tuesday 25 May 2021
Photo: Hrusikesh Mohanty
Photo: Hrusikesh Mohanty Photo: Hrusikesh Mohanty

A large number of jellyfish washed ashore in Odisha’s Puri. Fishery experts said this was due to the advent of Cyclone Yaas.

Most of the jellyfish were dead by the time they were found. They were found at Digabaruni, Pethakata and near a light house in Puri. Strong winds and high tidal waves under the influence of the cyclonic storm might have caused the jellyfish to be washed ashore, Pratap Kumar Mohanty, professor, department of marine science, Berhampur University, told this reporter. But further study was needed to ascertain this theory, he added.

Yaas is expected to land May 26 near Dhamara in Odisha.

“We have collected some samples of the jellyfish found from the coast for research,” Gyana Ranjan Das, a scientist of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI)’s field station at Puri, said.

Das’ team had identified at least two species of the jellyfish from the beach. While one was crambionella, the other one was yet to be identified, he said. “We will send the species to CMFRI, Chennai for further inspection,” he said.  

Most of the jellyfish found stranded along the coast were crambionella, Rajesh Kumar Pradhan, Das’ colleague, said.  The crambionella species did not sting and was believed to be safe to handle, he added. The size of the jellyfish that were found on the beach was 7-15 centimetres.

Fluctuations of the sea surface temperature and salinity of strong water currents, coupled with strong winds could be some of the probable reasons behind the washing ashore of the jellyfish, Das said. No external injury marks were found on the animals, he added.

Local fishermen said there had been earlier instances of jellyfish washing ashore on Puri beach. “But we have never seen such a large number of jellyfish found suddenly on the beach,” said Sanatan Behera, a fisherman, said.

“The fishermen drew my attention to the jellyfish. I then asked CMFRI scientists to find out the reasons behind the development,” Hemant Das, deputy director of fisheries, Puri, said. 

Fisher folk had extensively harvested jellyfish in the area over the years, sources said. They are caught by fishermen, marinated in salt and then dried under the sun. The catch is then exported to some other countries.  It is not used for local consumption, the sources added. 

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