Shore Report

Going Crabbing, Fishing in Bay or River? Be Alert for Clinging Jellyfish in Monmouth and Ocean

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The tiny clinging jellyfish with the overpowering sting has been discovered in back bays and estuaries of Ocean County, and may reappear in Monmouth County’s Shrewsbury and Manasquan Rivers. Credits: N.J. Department of Environmental Protection
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TRENTON, NJ — Northern Barnegat Bay is the latest spot where the presence of clinging jellyfish — the dime-size creature with a powerful sting — has been confirmed.

They also have been discovered in the Metedeconk River, which flows into the northern bay — a popular estuary for boating, fishing, swimming, crabbing and other recreational activities, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

As a result, DEP advises recreational users of northern Barnegat Bay to exercise caution when out on the water and also reminds users of the Shrewsbury and Manasquan Rivers in Monmouth County, where the clinging jellyfish had been confirmed in recent years, to be on the alert for them.

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Clinging jellyfish, a native to the Pacific Ocean, is not known to inhabit ocean beaches or other sandy areas, but tends to attach itself to submerged aquatic vegetation and algae in back bays and estuaries —  areas not heavily used for swimming.

The clinging jellyfish was first confirmed in New Jersey in 2016 in the Manasquan River at the Point Pleasant Canal. DEP has been working with Montclair State University in studying the possible distribution of clinging jellyfish in New Jersey.

For a map of locations where clinging jellyfish have been confirmed and sites that have been investigated but no clinging jellyfish were found, click here.

The clinging jellyfish is small and difficult to spot in the water. A sting can produce severe pain and other localized symptoms and can result in hospitalization in some individuals.

If stung by a clinging jellyfish:

  • Apply white vinegar to the affected area to immobilize any remaining stinging cells.
  • Rinse the area with salt water and remove any remaining tentacle materials using gloves or a thick towel.
  • A hot compress or cold pack can then be applied to alleviate pain.
  • If symptoms persist or pain increases instead of subsiding, seek prompt medical attention.

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