Oxygen levels, warmer temps bring marine life inshore

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – There is a reason stingrays have been swarming near our shores.

According to biologists with the Department of Natural Resources, water near the shore is warm which attracts stingrays closer to our beaches. They tend to seek out the warmest spot, and typically live on the bottom of the ocean, making them easy to step on.

When the oxygen levels changed last week bottom feeders, including stingrays, traveled closer to shore to find the right oxygen level.

"When there's a hypoxic event, all the fish congregate near the surface where the water is oxygenated," says Attending Emergency Physician Jarratt Lark with Grand Strand Regional Medical Center.

Biologists say this is also Stingray Season.

"This time in August, many rays move in closer naturally. They're simply near swimmers in the shallow water," says Biologist Dean Cain with the Department of Natural Resources.

Cain explains there are different reasons for marine life trends on our coast. We will see multiple shark attacks because sharks travel in schools and migrate closer to the shore from time to time. Stingrays will be closer when oxygen levels are low and water is warmer in shallow water. Jellyfish will wash up on shore depending on the winds.

"Jellyfish are at the mercy of the tides, which have been pulling offshore this summer," says Cain

Tropical weather could cause the winds to shift and that could mean an increase of jellyfish on our shores.

There are things you can carry in your beach bag or do right on the spot to treat different stings.

For jellyfish:

Rub sand on the sting to remove any barbs.

Use a mix of water and vinegar to neutralize the sting.

For stingrays:

Put the wound in the hottest water you can stand. The heat breaks down the venom and eases the pain.

Carry Neosporin or peroxide to fight infection.

Use bandages to keep anything else from entering the wound.

Doctors recommend treatment with your physician, especially for X-rays to remove any additional barb left under your skin.

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