Malaysia: Jellyfish washed ashore in Sematan beach
By Lian Cheng, 15th April 2014;
Businesswoman Angela Ng had a ‘gooey’ surprise when she went to Sematan beach last Sunday for a walk.
The Kuchingite is used to seeing a couple of jellyfish on the beach, but what she saw that day surprised her – there were about 50 of these sea creatures on the beach shimmering in the warm setting sun!
“I am not sure if they were dead or alive. They laid still and there was no bad odour,” said Ng, 36.
She added that the invertebrate she saw was somewhat transparent, had a slight bluish tint, and about the size of a steering wheel.
“To me, it was a rare sight, so I took a picture of it. Usually, you can see two or three jellyfish on the beach, but this time round there were so many of them.”
Meanwhile, when contacted, state Fisheries Research Institute’s senior researcher Daud Awang said what Ng saw was nothing alarming. In fact, he described it as something ‘normal’.
He said jellyfish tend to end up on beach due to the act of fishermen on traditional sampans or trawlers.
Jellyfish accidentally caught by traditional fishermen on sampans usually ended up back into the sea, he said.
“Traditional fishermen lay their nets during low tide. During high tide, many fish will get entangled by the net, including jellyfish. The fishermen will usually throw jellyfish back into the sea due to their heavy weight.”
A small white jellyfish is about 20 cm in length, while the biggest one can be half a meter long. Hence, a jellyfish may weigh between two and five kilogramme.
Similarly, for fishermen on trawlers, when there is space constraint, jellyfish would be the first one to be dumped.
Daud said jellyfish caught and later thrown back into the sea would later be washed ashore by tide or waves.
“Now is the season for jellyfish (March and April). I suspect whatever happened in Sematan beach has been caused by some trawlers fishing near Sematan. The fishermen caught the jellyfish, but later discarded them back into the sea.
“The dead jellyfish were then carried to the shore by high tide.”