Jellyfish invasion in Ullapool

There are harmless blue ringed moon jellyfish swarming at Ullapool, but also more harmful blue jellyfish and the red lion's mane - seen to the left of this photo. Pic: N Hawkins, Summer Queen Cruises, Ullapool

There are harmless blue ringed moon jellyfish swarming at Ullapool, but also more harmful blue jellyfish and the red lion's mane - seen to the left of this photo. Pic: N Hawkins, Summer Queen Cruises, Ullapool

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Huge numbers of jellyfish have been gathering at Ullapool Harbour and Loch Broom recently.

Numbers not seen in years have been accumulating around the sea, coast and washing ashore on the beaches, reports Mr Hawkins of Summer Queen Cruises in Ullapool.

The most common species present are the harmless blue ringed moon jellyfish, but there are also blue jellyfish and red lion’s mane that can cause swimmers and fishermen problems if touched.

There are also continued reports of barrel jellyfish – the largest jellyfish encountered in UK waters.

Mr Hawkins continues that concerns that the jellyfish may be impacting fish numbers in the area have been expressed by anglers and professional fishermen who are seeing little sign of the expected annual mackerel shoals.

Certain fishing zones around the world have reported ‘jellification’ where jellyfish have reached such levels that other species have been displaced.

In Sweden and America, nuclear power plants were shut down in 2013 when jellyfish blocked cooling systems and similar problems have occurred at conventional coal powered plants in the Philippines and India.

And whilst Ullapool doesn’t face such threats at present, jellyfish numbers are being monitored with interest.