Israel's Jellyfish Season Is Over, Ocean Researchers Say

The swarm of 'nomad jellyfish' will now follow sea currents to other parts of the Mediterranean, seven weeks after arriving in Israel.

Daniel Bar-On

Jellyfish season is over, proclaimed the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research Institute Monday, noting that the seasonal swarm of creatures have moved roughly seven weeks after first appearing on Israel’s southern shores.

The species rhopilema nomadica, known as the “nomad jellyfish” will follow the sea currents to other locales on the Mediterranean.

Dr. Bella Galil from the Oceanographic and Limnological Research institute led the efforts to track the jellyfish, as she does every year. She is aided by reports from fishermen.

As in previous summers, a swarm of jellyfish inhabited the shores from Ashkelon in the south to Nahariya in the north. This year’s swarm, however, sported significantly large specimens, with some of the jellyfish as much as 70 centimeters wide.

The nomad jellyfish reached the Mediterranean decades ago through the Suez Canal, and managed to root itself there. Galil notes that these jellyfish swarms have been spotted as far as the central Mediterranean, on the shores of Tunisia.

Venomous cells released by jellyfish are a regular deterrent for beachgoers every summer, and this year as well, numerous stings were reported. They also destroy fishermen’s nets, and clog electric company infrastructure located on the shore.

Moshe Zorea