A JELLYFISH “invasion” on the North East coast has been caused by the recent hot spell, experts say.
Walkers and surfers have reported spotting hundreds of the creatures washed up on beaches from Berwick to Teesside.
Experts believe the recent warm weather may have increased the intensity of their main food source, algae, in the water near the coast which has drawn the jellyfish towards land.
Strong summer currents may also drag the jellyfish close to the shore where they become stranded at low tide.
Last week, both reactors at the Torness nuclear power station in Scotland were shut down after huge numbers of jellyfish were found in the sea water entering the plant. The jellyfish were found obstructing cooling water filters on Tuesday.
The East Lothian plant’s operator, EDF Energy, said the shutdown of the power station had been a precautionary measure and there had never been any danger to the public.
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 or a combination of these factors.”
Miss Pellegrino said the stinging power of species most commonly found off the North East coast is low. “There are around eight species of jellyfish in North Sea waters,” she added.
“The ones on our beaches are probably moon jellyfish or mauve stinger jellyfish. “The stings from either of these are not very powerful and would not cause serious injury.”
Tynemouth surfer John Millard said the influx had become a nuisance for people using the coast.
“I’ve noticed a lot more jellyfish than usual this year,” he said.
“They get in your face and on your board when you’re wading out.
“I don’t think we’re worried about getting stung as such because we have wet suits, they just get in the way more than anything else.
“I’d be more worried about children playing on the beach getting stung. They can give you a painful nip.”