Anti-jellysh netting to be installed in the Mar Menor on 20th May

The COEC local business association in Cartagena has announced that work to put in place the anti-jellysh netting which is installed every summer in the Mar Menor will begin this year on 20 May, protecting bathers from stinging tentacles at beaches throughout the lagoon. Last summer 1,100 nets were installed, affording protection to a total area of over 4.6 million square metres in 60 locations on the 70-kilometre shore of the Mar Menor, and the operation is never completed once the installation is nished.  It is then necessary to monitor and maintain the netting until the rst fortnight of October, when it is to be removed, and the use of six boats and the services of a dozen shermen belonging to the guild of San Pedro del Pinatar and four divers cost the regional government around half a million euros in 2018. When it is time to dismantle the nets after the summer, members of the Hippocampus association will be participating: last year this collaboration resulted in approximately 100 seahorses being rescued from the netting and released into the lagoon, providing a much-needed boost to the dwindling population of the species in the Mar Menor. Curiously, in recent years it appears that the need forthis netting has become less pronounced, with the number of jellysh spotted in the lagoon having been relatively low since 2015. As a result, in 2018 no boats were commissioned specically to haul huge shoals of the creatures out of the water as used to occur a few years ago, when it was possible to stand alongside the Canal del Estacio and witness jellysh streaming into the lagoon at a rate of hundreds per minute, and although it might seem odd they are being missed in some ways. The large “fried egg” jellysh (Cotylorhiza tuberculata) might appear frightening but its sting is not painful, and the species contributes to the recovery of the marine environment by ltering phytoplankton and zooplankton out of the water, so although swimmer might not agree biologists will be hoping to see the species return in large numbers this year”!