The jellification of the oceans: feature on MED-JELLYRISK project

SourceEuropean Neighbourhood Information Centre

Growing numbers of jellyfish are turning up on Mediterranean beaches, which is a worry for bathers as it can ruin their swims. But it’s also a sign that our oceans are in very poor condition, which is why integrated surveillance, prevention and socio-economic impact assessment systems need to be put in place. And this is precisely what the MED-JELLYRISK project intends to do.

Let’s face it, jellyfish get a bed press. They sting, they scratch and they burn. Today there are precious few ways of effectively relieving the pain after bathers get stung and end up with skin burns that are caused by the jellyfish’s skin-irritating cells. That’s a concern for the tourism industry in Tunisia as it is on almost all the beaches in the Mediterranean. It’s as if the jellyfish have declared war on summer holidaymakers. In Hammamet, a coastal tourist town 60 kilometres from the capital Tunis, 'cleaners' are looking to make the beach jellyfish-free by installing 200m anti-jellyfish nets, thus allowing holidaymakers (and children in particular) to feel safe swimming in a protected area.

"It’s set up in a few hours and creates a 30m long safe swimming area," explains Cyrine Ferchchi from the National Agronomic Institute of Tunis.

A journalist from the European Neighbourhood Information Centre was present when anti-jellyfish nets were put in place in Hammamet and he sent us this report.

This is part of a series of features on projects funded by the ENPI CBC Med Programme, prepared by journalists and photographers on the ground.

Download feature story: The jellification of the oceans