Thousands of jellyfish caught off Ras Al Khaimah

Fishermen said large swarms of jelly blubbers had clogged their nets

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Thousands of jellyfish have been caught off the coast of Ras Al Khaimah following an unusual bloom for this time of year.

Fishermen said large swarms of jelly blubbers, also known as blue blubber jellyfish, had disrupted their catch by clogging nets.

Hundreds of the species, common to the Indian Ocean, have also been found washed up along shores in the emirate.

Experts said recent high winds could be responsible for the creatures, which mainly eat plankton and small fish, being blown ashore.

“It’s common to see these jellyfish between February to May and in September, but not in huge numbers like this,” said fisherman Omar Al Shahi, from Al Rams.

“They’re right near the surface and can’t be avoided. It affects our work as they get stuck in nets and ruin them.”

Conservationists said little was known about jelly blubbers. Their colour can vary from a creamy white or brown to a light blue or purple.

“The blubber jelly comes in colours ranging from very light blue to dark purple and burgundy,” said Natalie Banks, a marine conservationist.

“Its bell pulses in a distinctive, staccato-like rhythm. Scientists know little about their populations.”

Fisherman Ahmed Al Shahi, from RAK, said: “It needs more than four men to pull our nets out of the water.

“It takes time to release them [the jellyfish] and many die in the process. Many fishermen haven’t made any money these last few weeks.”