STINGER: Irukandji jellyfish
STINGER: Irukandji jellyfish Contributed

Climate change could cause Irukandji expansion: report

INCREASED irukandji sightings in Hervey Bay and Fraser Island could be a result of intensifying climate change, a new report reveals.

The Climate Change Council's report claims Queensland's most popular tourist destinations are in danger due to climate change due to increasing sea levels, rising temperatures and coral bleaching.

The report found the irukandji season had been lengthening since the 1960s in North Queensland, and warmer waters from climate change would mean the stingers would move south into sub-tropical waters.

It made specific mention to recent sightings of the deadly marine animal near Hervey Bay and Fraser Island last month.

"Laboratory experiments have shown that the jellyfish polyps are capable of surviving summer conditions in South East Queensland," the council's report found.

Irukandji was found off the waters of Fraser Island on January 7 after lifesavers conducted a drag near Arch Cliffe.

On January 28, a Hervey Bay boy was airlifted to Bundaberg Base Hospital with symptoms consistent with an irukandji sting after swimming in a creek near Wathumba Rd in Platypus Bay.

Regional operations manager for Surf Life Saving Queensland Craig Holden said it had been challenging to monitor the animal's presence in the Fraser Coast for the past few years.

"It's not an insurmountable challenge, but more of a timely reminder to us that we need to be monitoring what's going on all the time," Mr Holden said.

Mr Holden said the focus was on increasing awareness with the public and evaluating "what we're (SLSQ) doing in terms of how we patrol."

Read the Climate Change Council's report here.



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