Scientists investigating increase in jellyfish off Maine coast

FREEPORT, Maine (NECN) -- Maine residents are noticing a big increase in the number of jellyfish in Casco Bay this summer.

Scientists at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute say they started hearing reports in early June soon after a pulse of warm water came in close to shore for several days. They believe the jellyfish were in that warm water and are now taking up residence along the shore.

"They are indicating something different is going on in the eco-system and we'd like to be able to understand what that is," explained Andy Pershing, Chief Scientific Officer for the Gulf of Maine Research Institute.

It's also been a wake up call for swimmers who are coming face to face with the stinging sea creatures. Marathon swimmer Pat Gallant Charrette says she's seen more this year than ever before.

"Yesterday I saw 20 jellyfish and I got stung seven times, but the stings are minor," Gallant Charrette said.

Scientists say they aren't sure if this is a one time event or part of a larger connection to warming ocean waters. There isn't a lot of reliable data on jellyfish because they aren't a commercial fish that is caught and counted.


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