SWARMS of jellyfish have been invading Sunderland beaches thanks to the recent hot spell.
Signs have been put up at Roker and Seaburn after the warm weather brought scores of the creatures to our shores.
Hundreds have been reported washed up along the North East coast from Berwick to Teesside.
It is believed that recent high temperatures may have increased the intensity of their main food source, algae, in the water near the coast which has drawn the jellyfish towards land.
Though the vast majority of jellyfish that hug the North East coastline have a mild sting, huge lion’s mane jellyfish and the deadly Portuguese man o’war have been spotted at Roker and Seaburn in the past.
Gavin Hughes, supervisor for the RNLI Lifeguards who monitor the twin resorts, said: “We do get stings now and then, but it’s not something we deal with every day. On average we get one a week, but sometimes more depending on whether there has been an influx of jellyfish.
“Generally the stings are not that bad – they are like a nettle sting – but we always advise people to seek assistance from a lifeguard. We have an information board at the lifeguard hut to warn beach users if there is an influx of jellyfish.”
Chris Alexander, Head of Culture and Tourism, at Sunderland City Council, said: “During spells of warm weather there is normally an increase of jellyfish along the coastline. If jellyfish are present on the beach, the resorts team and the RNLI beach lifeguards will inform the public both verbally and by displaying notices.
“We would advise anyone who gets stung to contact a lifeguard for first aid assistance and seek professional medical advice should symptoms persist.”
It is believed there are about eight species of jellyfish in North Sea waters.
Anna Pellegrino, from Tynemouth’s Blue Reef Aquarium, said: “It’s the perfect time of year for them. They appear in huge ‘blooms’ which can consist of up to hundreds of thousands of them.
“The attraction to the area can depend on the food they eat, which is algae, the temperature, the currents and the salinity of the water.”
In 2004, former Sunderland defender Julio Arca is believed to have been stung by a Portuguese man o’war while the team trained at Seaburn beach.