Dangerous jellyfish warning

The Journal reports that the Portuguese Weather Institute (IPMA) has today warned of the appearance of the Portuguese man o’ war jellyfish along the coasts of Portugal, including the Azores and Madeira.
This gelatinous organism, with the scientific name ‘Physalia physalis’ requires caution when spotted.

According to IPMA, influenced by winds and surface currents, the Portuguese man o’ war presents a profile in the shape of a blue “balloon”, sometimes with lilac and pink tones, and is often sighted off the Portuguese coast. Its tentacles can reach 30 metres in length and are very stinging, capable of causing serious burns.

Given its danger, IPMA warns that it is important to remember that nobody should touch the tentacles, even when the Portuguese man o’ war appears to be dead on the beach. In case of contact with the tentacles of the jellyfish, the affected zone must be well cleaned with sea water and any pieces of tentacles that may have been trapped in the skin must be removed. In addition to this care may still be applied using vinegar and hot strips, besides being the patient being advised to seek medical assistance.

The detection of the Portuguese man o’ war was done through the monitoring program of gelatinous organisms on the Portuguese continental coast GelAvista, a project of the IPMA organisation. Created in 2016, GelAvista has been involving citizens in science for the necessary collection of information on the occurrence or non-existence of gelatinous-looking organisms on the Portuguese coast. It receives information about the presence of gelatinous organisms, alerting the population, and transmits scientific information about the species, as well as the care to be taken in case of direct contact with the skin.

According to an IPMA note, any occurrence of this or other species of gelatinous organisms may be reported to the GelAvista program. The information of each sighting (date, place, number of organisms and photograph to serve as a scale) should be sent to the email address plancton@ipma.pt, or through the application GelAvista available in the Play Store for Android systems.

In the Facebook page of GelAvista, the most recent occurrences of gelatinous organisms in Portugal are frequently shared, and species information is also available on the gelavista.ipma.pt site.

On Friday, the Parish Council of Costa da Caparica, in the municipality of Almada, issued an alert for the appearance of jellyfish and Portuguese man o’ war on its beaches, while the maritime authority told press agency Lusa that it was following the phenomenon.