stuff of nightmares

Lord help us - there's been another mass jellyfish stranding off the west coast...

Thousands of mauve stinger jellyfish washed up dead off the coast of Clare at the weekend.

2016-09-30 15.58.44 Liam MacNamara Liam MacNamara

AS IF DEALING with mass strandings of the Portuguese Man of War off the west coast wasn’t enough to deal with, now we have the mauve stinger to contend with.

Liam MacNamara, a native of Fanore, Co Clare, came upon this sight on the beach near his home at the weekend. It’s something he says he’s “never seen the likes of”.

“We just came upon these stranded mauve stinger jellyfish, thousands of them,” he says.

I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve never seen anything like it.

2016-09-30 15.23.30 Liam MacNamara Liam MacNamara

2016-09-30 15.59.13 Liam MacNamara Liam MacNamara

2016-09-30 15.22.19 Liam MacNamara Liam MacNamara

It isn’t even the first mass-stranding MacNamara has seen this year – back in June it was the turn of moon jellyfish to beach themselves en masse on Fanore beach, which again was the first time he had ever seen anything like it.

“There’s a lot of theories going around, some say the oceans are heating up, our fish stocks are much lower than they were because of overfishing,” says Liam.

A lot of it could be down to wind direction as well.

A few Man of Wars were also beached at the same time as the mauve stingers at the weekend – and they’re creatures MacNamara had quite literally never seen before.

There’s something funny afoot off the west coast it seems.

2016-09-30 15.24.50 Liam MacNamara Liam MacNamara

2016-09-30 15.58.37 Liam MacNamara Liam MacNamara

The missing fish would ordinarily be natural predators for the stranded jellyfish, especially when “they’re juvenile and just little blobs” according to Liam. So maybe that’s the answer.

While it may look a little overwhelming, a stranding such as this doesn’t stay like that for long: “they die very quickly when they come in, and once they’re in they’re 95% water so they just disintegrate, or birds eat them.”

They’re not there for long.

You can view more of Liam’s photography work at the Burren Shores Facebook page

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