1. ITV Report

Record numbers of jellyfish expected in UK waters this summer

Jellyfish are set to be a common sight in some British seas this summer. Credit: PA

The UK is seeing a large rise in jellyfish numbers with Wales being named the "hotspot" by researchers who say they could hit record numbers this summer.

It is a "good year for jellyfish" as already some areas of the UK's seas resemble a "jellyfish soup", the Marine Conservation Society claimed.

This compass jellyfish was spotted off Newquay beach in Cornwall. Credit: PA

As the UK seas continue to warm up over the summer, barrel, moon, compass, blue and lion's mane are the types of jellyfish swarming our waters.

There is strong evidence that jellyfish numbers are increasing around the world, including UK seas, and these increases have been linked to factors such as pollution, over-fishing and possibly climate change.

– Peter Richardson, MCS
Moon jellyfish are among the boom of the sea creatures spotted across the UK coastline. Credit: PA

The MCS said 2013 was a record year for jellyfish sightings, with more than 1,100 reports.

"Last year was phenomenal, the biggest in the history of our survey. But we've already had 500 sightings and we're only halfway through the summer season," Dr Richardson said.

The barrel jellyfish is one of the most commonly seen off the Welsh coast. Credit: PA

"Most jellyfish are pretty harmless - you don't feel a barrel jellyfish sting. But if you have large numbers of lion's mane jellyfish turning up on tourist beaches, you need to know about it," he added.

MCS warns to "look but not touch" as some jellyfish can sting - particularly the lion's mane that is swarming in numbers along the coast in the north west.

The lion's mane jellyfish, spotted off north Wales, has a nasty sting. Credit: PA

The findings come after researchers carried out the first UK-wide survey of jellyfish sightings in more than 40 years.

The survey, published by the MCS and the University of Exeter, found over 6000 jellyfish encounters were reported since it was first launched in 2003.