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Jellyfish boom threatening the environment

Overfishing has helped jellyfish thrive (courtesy: Jim G./Flickr)

Overfishing has helped jellyfish thrive (courtesy: Jim G./Flickr)

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    Cheryl Santa Maria
    Digital Reporter

    Monday, June 3, 2013, 2:51 PM -

    Researchers are tracking a dangerous rise of jellyfish in the Mediterranean.

    The population boom is said to be threatening biodiversity in the sea as well as countless tourists, who risk of coming into contact with the venomous creatures. 

    Studies suggest the growth is part of a global trend.

    Over-fishing and climate change have reduced the number of predators in the sea, allowing jellyfish to thrive.

    "There are now beaches on the island of Lampedusa [in the Mediterranean], which receives 300,000 tourists a year, where people can only swim for a week in the summer," jellyfish researcher Piraino Josep María Gili told the Guardian.

    "It is a growing problem in the Mediterranean, as it is in the rest of the world." 

    In some areas, researchers have detected a spike in mauve stingers -- one of the most poisonous species of jellyfish.

    Off the coast of Spain, long stretches of banks have been observed containing up to 40 stingers per square metre.

    Piraino says that an average of 150,000 people are treated for jellyfish stings in the Mediterranean region each summer.

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