Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Jellyfish Problem in Langkawi

I came across this article in "The Star" 1/9/10
I've never really rated Langkawi as to me it symbolises just about everything wrong with Malaysian beach holidays and the poor planning and the abandoned developments make the place look ugly and most of the resorts are either miles from anywhere self-contained upmarket "let's charge whatever we can get away with now that they're here" type places-or "lets build an A-frame chalet,throw in some red or white plastic chairs and call it a resort" type place...The beaches are not great and the water quality is poor...
On the plus side,beer is duty-free and some people who go there fall in love with the place.

Last year there was a report in the foreign press that a Swedish tourist died after being stung by a box-jellyfish whilst skinny-dipping at night.
This was never reported by the local media as it might be "bad' for the image.
A few people commented on the story and didn't disagree with the author....and the local medics on the island were not surprised....
Now,I'm not saying that the current Jellyfish plague is caused by the same species but perhaps it highlights a bigger problem...
Anyway,the report is quoted in full below:  

LANGKAWI: Improper dumping of sewage and the disappearance of turtles has caused an explosion in the jellyfish population which is threatening tourism here.

In the first 21 days of July alone, 185 cases of jellyfish attacks on tourists and residents including fishermen were recorded and this is becoming a cause of concern to the Langkawi Development Authority (Lada).
The authority is seeking Malaysia Nature Society’s help to reduce the number of jellyfish.
Lada’s economic affairs assistant officer Shajiddeen Shaari said the best way to curb the number of jellyfish would be to prevent marine pollution.
However, he said they faced problems in increasing the number of turtles, which feed on jellyfish, because of pollution along the beaches.
“Turtles mistake plastic bags for food as to they look like floating jellyfish to the turtles,” said Shajiddeen.
He said jellyfish are also reducing the fish population as they eat fish eggs.
Veteran nature guide Othman Ayeb said rising water temperatures due to pollution also contributed to the jellyfish boom.
He said that in the past, the jellyfish were usually found some 5km to 10km away from the shoreline.
“However, due to the improper management of sewage from resorts and hotels, the jellyfish started to breed along the shore,” he said.
Othman added that Pantai Cenang has the highest number of jellyfish because of the bad water quality.
“However, we have yet to ascertain the jellyfish species,” he said, adding that samples will be sent to Universiti Sains Malaysia for proper identification.

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