Malaysia: Red jellyfish influx worries Pulau Ketam fishermen

The Star 20 Apr 16;

PORT KLANG: Swarms of red jellyfish have invaded the waters of Pulau Ketam here, and fishermen are crying foul over the extra work it takes to separate them from their daily catch.

Ong Ah Soi, 54, who has been a fisherman for almost 40 years, said it was the first time he was seeing the beaches and waters of the fishing village island turn so red.

“There were so many that I could see them floating in the water. I could even see them from my home. We started seeing them about two weeks ago and now there are more. When the tide is low, the beach becomes very red,” he said yesterday.

Ong said he and the other villagers were anxious, with some worrying if it was a sign of impending disaster in the area.

Asked if he was worried, Ong said it was “pointless to worry about unknown things”.

However, some fishermen have reported bigger catches for them at sea since this month.

The only drawback, Ong added was that many red jellyfish have been found in the nets and had to be separated from the catch to be thrown back.

Malaysia Fish Traders Association president Kee Oi Sing, whose fish centre is based in Sungai Besar in Sabak Bernam, some 100km from here, said the sighting of red jellyfish along the waters of Tanjung Karang, Sekinchan right up to Sungai Besar was normal.

“Our areas here also have the same occurrence now.

“We came across the same thing before this. It is a seasonal phenomenon and people need not be too worried,” he said.

However, the retired fisherman said the red jellyfish sighted this time were much more in numbers, and probably brought about by the strong ocean currents and monsoon winds due to the weather.

“The jellyfish could be from the Indian Ocean before they arrived in the Strait of Malacca following the currents and winds,” he said.

““We expect this occurrence to go away within two to three months’ time.”