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Environment and Energy

Central Coast beaches seeing increase of velella velella jellyfish

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Increased numbers of blue jelly fish—known as velella velellas—are washing up on Central Coast beaches according to scientists with California State Parks. Reports out of Southern California show a similar situation.

This summer the large colonies have been spotted at several state beaches in Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties.

"The numbers have been large enough over the past several weeks to get people’s attention," said Vicky Waters, Deputy Director for Public Affairs with California State Parks.

Doctor Kevin Raskoff is chair of the Biology Department at Monterey Peninsula College and says the coastal appearance of the velella swarms is somewhat cyclical. The creatures typically live in large clusters far from shore.

Doctor Raskoff says the jellies can sting but it's minor and not dangerous in most people. He says this wave of velellas isn't the largest he's seen. Raskoff says he remembers a more significant occurrence about eight years ago.