Jellyfish are heading for the UK’s coastal waters say experts, possibly driven by climate change or over-fishing.

Holidaymakers are being warned to be careful as the boom in jellyfish numbers may include some species with a strong sting.

Barrel, moon, compass, blue and lion's mane jellyfish are usually found in UK waters. These species have only a mild sting.

However the lion’s mane jellyfish has a more powerful – though still non-fatal – sting.

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) said that swimmers should “look but not touch” if they spot jellyfish in the ocean.

In June, the Torness nuclear power station in Scotland was closed after swarms of moon jellyfish blocked its water intake cooling systems.

Now the sea creatures are heading en masse for UK waters.

The MCS is asking beach-goers to take part in its survey of jellyfish numbers in the seas, hoping to discover more about them.

“There is strong evidence that jellyfish numbers are increasing around the world, including UK seas, and these increases have been linked to factors such as pollution, over-fishing and possibly climate change,” MCS biodiversity programme manager Peter Richardson said.

“We should consider jellyfish populations as important indicators of the state of our seas, and the MCS jellyfish survey helps provide some of the information we need to understand more about them.”

Jellyfish are the staple diet of highly endangered leatherback turtles, which are seasonal visitors to the UK seas. Leatherback turtles migrate from their tropical nesting beaches to feed on the creatures.

A common belief is that you should piss on a jellyfish sting but, in fact, there is not enough acid in urine to be an effective treatment.

Instead, tentacles should be removed carefully and the area washed in hot water. Vinegar is said to be an immediate DIY remedy, but the jury is still out.

If the victim experiences confusion, chest pain or weakness, medical help should be sought.

However, species of jellyfish found in the UK are unlikely to have a serious sting.

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