'Fairly modest' stinger seasons make expert nervous

Lifeguard Greg Willey looking at a box jelly fish at the Mackay Harbour beach.
Lifeguard Greg Willey looking at a box jelly fish at the Mackay Harbour beach. Michaela Harlow

MARINE stingers have been relatively quiet for the past two summers and that's making an Australian expert nervous.

Australian Marine Stinger Advisory Service director Lisa-Ann Gershwin said in the past two years numbers for both box jellyfish and irukandji had been "fairly modest".

"That means it has been two years in a row without a big year and that makes me nervous," she said.

While no stingers have been found at Mackay beaches so far this year, Ms Gershwin's concerns are a timely reminder to follow strict precautions in the meantime.

Jellyfish can be found outside the summer months. In Mackay and the Whitsundays they were more prevalent in December/January and again in March/April, Ms Gershwin said.

"People should follow the normal safety protocol in place," she said.

"Swim between flags, because those beaches are monitored, talk to lifeguards to see if there have been any stingers, wear protective clothing and use vinegar, even if you just think you've been stung."

Ms Gershwin said a longterm forecast system to predict the jellyfish season was in the works.

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Topics:  editors picks expert irukandji jellyfish lifesavers mackay stingers

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