Le Figaro Nantes
A few days ago, Thibaut went to enjoy the sun on the Atlantic coast. He was lounging on the large beach of La Baule (Loire-Atlantique) and then went swimming. "Not far from the shore, I felt a sting. I didn't see anything. As I know the sea well, I did not panic and turned back, "he recounts to the Figaro. The origin of his evil was quickly identified: a jellyfish. "It wasn't too violent, it stung me for an hour or two," he explains. A week later, during a sailing session off Pornichet, rebelote or almost. If he didn't get stung, he saw "a lot of jellyfish in the water."
This testimony is far from unique. Many have made the same observation on the coasts of the Loire department. On the Meduseo website - which lists jellyfish sightings on the entire French coast - a red dot, symbol of a "strong presence", marks the Côte d'Amour. Vigilance is also required in the Vendée, Morbihan and Charente-Maritime, where many jellyfish have been spotted. The reason to be wary: the stinging power of these animals that can cause severe pain.
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This "invasion" of jellyfish is not abnormal. "It's a seasonal phenomenon that occurs at the end of spring," explains Sébastien Voilet, head of the aquariology sector at the Océarium du Croisic. On the other hand, this mass arrival on the coasts would be earlier than in previous years. "The water temperature rose faster, which promoted the development of plankton that jellyfish feed on, stimulating their growth and reproduction," he says.
The specialist calls for all the more caution as some people may be allergic to jellyfish stings: "Do not approach them and do not touch them when they are on the sand because they remain stinging". In water, avoiding them is more difficult. "They are not always visible with their long filaments," he says. His advice in case of a sting? "You have to get out of the water and rinse thoroughly with seawater and then remove the parts of tentacles that would have remained clinging. The best is to rub with wet sand and then scrape the area and rinse again," he replies.
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Despite all these precautions, itching or burning sensation may occur. "The pain disappears after a few hours in general," reassures Sébastien Voilet whose structure exposes to the public, in its basins, two local species of jellyfish - visible at this moment on the Atlantic coast - and another exotic species that is found in the Pacific Ocean.
It remains to be seen how long this "classic phenomenon" will last. Very clever who would say it. Even if he is a connoisseur of the subject, Sébastien Voilet does not get wet. "Jellyfish can move vertically but not horizontally. Their presence depends on sea currents," he says. Knowing that the most widespread species currently on the Atlantic coast is the "compass jellyfish" - whose stinging power is very strong - it is up to you to be careful not to be in their way.