Hundreds of barrel jellyfish wash up on Sussex beach

Scores of jellyfish have washed up on a beach in West Sussex '“ following storms out at sea.

Barrell jellyfish washed up on the beach at Littlehampton
Barrell jellyfish washed up on the beach at Littlehampton

The jellyfish were strewn across East Beach in Littlehampton on Wednesday (January 6) in their hundreds, among the seaweed washed up near the pier.

Their unseasonable appearance was caused by recent storms and mild temperatures, according to an officer from the Sussex Wildlife Trust.

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Although they varied in size, one of the larger specimens, a barrel jellyfish (pictured above), came to around fifty centimetres in diameter.

Olle Åkesson, marine officer at the Sussex Wildlife Trust said: “It’s a little more unusual to see them this late in the season. They’ve probably been carried in from farther offshore, probably by the recent storms.

“You’ll normally see much fewer this time of year, and I wouldn’t have really expected to see this many of them.”

He said the jellyfish get ‘kicked up’ from the seabed in the storms and the warmer than usual water temperature means there are more plankton and nutrients for them to eat.

However, despite their size, Mr Akesson said the jellyfish were ‘harmless’.

In August the Marine Conservation Society reported record numbers of barrel jellyfish sightings for a second consecutive year.

One dog walker said: “You see everything here at low tide.

“Half a boat was washed up the other day, upside down with the rudders showing. Shoes are washed up, cardigans too – and crabs and sea coal.”

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