Improving knowledge concerning harmless jellyfish aggregations.
Topic of the practice
Good Practice Information
Large jellyfish aggregations are a recurring problem in Europe. They hamper coastal tourism and cause bathing prohibitions, can potentially cause a risk for human health, create practical problems for commercial fishing, reduce the available food (zooplankton) for fish, and prey on fish eggs and larvae and reduce fish recruitment. Such problems were pointed out in the Mediterranean Sea in a visit to the French partner SIVOM in Cavalaire in Semester 1. This partner has used information dissemination to beach users as a means of decreasing the fear generated from a natural but harmless biological phenomenon. This is relevant as jellyfish aggregations are likely to increase as the seas warm due to climate change.
Although there are no management solutions to mass jellyfish developments, information distributed by tourist authorities can improve the knowledge about jellyfish and it helps that this phenomenon is no longer perceived as a danger or a risk by the public. IOW, therefore, collaborated with the local tourist board of Warnemunde. A co-worker took on the task of producing flyers of 2000 were subsequently distributed to tourists in July & August 2011 on seven different German Baltic beaches during 17 days.
Evidence of success
IOW conducted an evaluation among 755 beach users. The questions were created considering the common requirements recommended by social scientists.
which showed that the additional information led to a reduction in the perception of the danger of jellyfish in the bathing waters. The survey was very effective since 80% of the contacted beach visitors agreed to be interviewed and the return rate was almost 100%. Significant amounts of flyers were sold to tourist boards of other seaside resorts as well and it is planned to repeat the exercise in future seasons. Although managing jellyfish occurrence is difficult, providing information to beach visitors and influencing their perception and acceptance of jellyfish seems comparatively easy and possible. Especially in the Baltic Sea where dangerous jellyfish species are rare, information is a suitable measure.
Contact details to obtain further information on the practice
Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde
Annex completed on: 02-13-2012