Jellyfish bloom spotted in Boracay

Elizabeth Marcelo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Authorities reported the occurrence of jellyfish bloom along a beach in Boracay on Saturday, although it disappeared the following day, the Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation and Management Group (BIARMG) reported yesterday.

“By 5 p.m. on Saturday, the jellyfish were washed away and no recurrence was observed on Sunday morning,” acting Environment Secretary Jim Sampulna said.

The BIARMG reported the phenomenon to the provincial office of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Aklan.

“The safety of the public is our primary concern. We want to assure the locals and tourists that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, as chair of the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force, is working with the BFAR as part of our responsibility in the rehabilitation of the island,” Sampulna said.

Jellyfish bloom is a natural occurrence in the coastal areas of Aklan starting from the month of May until September.

“The occurrence depends on the direction of the wind,” the BFAR said.

In a report, BIARMG general manager Martin Despi said the jellyfish bloom was seen at around 2 p.m. on Saturday in all three stations of White Beach, particularly along the coast of Barangays Angol and Diniwid.

The bloom was gone by late afternoon.

“The wind direction on Saturday was southwest or habagat, which was headed toward the White Beach. This caused the jellyfish to accumulate in the area,” Despi said.

BFAR-Aklan officer-in-charge Evelyn Abad said a team dispatched on Sunday morning to check the occurrence found no trace of the bloom.

“The entire White Beach, from stations 1 to 3, was clear of jellyfish and has almost no trace of Saturday’s incident,” the team said.

“We were able to collect samples of jellyfish that occurred in the area to determine its species. They were so tiny and appeared to be newborns. The samples will be brought to our laboratory for testing on Monday,” Abad said.

The BFAR advised the Environmental Management Bureau in Western Visayas to also collect samples of jellyfish in case of a recurrence and to note the time of the occurence.

Despi said that lifeguards have advised tourists not to swim in any jellyfish-affected area.

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