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July 13, 2013

Jellyish sighted at Good Harbor, too

Gloucester resident Sally Smithwick said she was walking along Good Harbor Beach Friday around 7 a.m. when she noticed a reddish blob on the beach; another jellyfish had washed up on Cape Ann shores.

Smithwick estimated the bell or head of the jellyfish to be between 8 and 12 inches, similar in both size and color to the invertebrate that washed up on Manchester’s Singing Beach on Wednesday.

Manchester officials believed the species to be a lion’s mane jellyfish.

“It was quite large, it was dead and a seagull was standing next to it,” Smithwick said. “I haven’t seen one quite that big.”

Smithwick said she has seen one or two jellyfish in the past, but especially steered clear of this one; jellyfish can sting passersby even after they die or wash up on shore.

Some species of the brainless and heartless plankton were also spotted in Gloucester Harbor last year, according to Mary Kay Taylor, the director of education for Maritime Gloucester.

About eight specimens were found a year ago, although they were smaller than the ones found this week; their bells measuring about 3-6 inches in diameter, Taylor said.

And while 2012 did see more lion’s mane jellyfish than previous years, Taylor, as others, said the ocean current is what dictates the movement of a jellyfish.

“It’s not unheard of for them to be up here,” she said. “If we see one, we could see more.”

Manchester’s Singing Beach and Good Harbor Beach both lie on the southern edge of Cape Ann and are roughly 10 miles apart.

Manchester officials have since issued a jellyfish warning, alerting beach goers to stay away if one is found.

One of Rockport’s Harbormasters, Scott Story, said he has not received any notice of jellyfish washing ashore in Rockport, but that’s not to say the Board of Health or lifeguards have not been notified.

City officials too, said they have not received any more reports of jellyfish on Gloucester shores.

James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at jniedzinski@gloucestertimes.com.

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