Increase in jellyfish, sharks seen along the Grand Strand

Increase in jellyfish, sharks seen in the Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The National Weather Service has issued a beach hazard warning for the Grand Strand.

This comes after the organization says they were alerted by Myrtle Beach lifeguard services about an increase in stings this week. The warning goes until Friday night.

"Last couple days we've seen quite a few," said Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Brian Mitchell. "A lot of the jellies depend on the current wind so it's kind of hard to predict."

The beach isn't the only place these jellies have been spotted. Coastal Carolina University's Marine Weland Studies grad students have been seeing them off the coast in Georgetown.

"This year we definitely have seen cannonball jellyfish, we've seen nettles out and we see those all in the water near the bay," said grad student Elise Pullen.

Pullen has been researching sharks in our area for the past year.

"We just got off the water and worked with lemon sharks yesterday. Today we worked with sand bar sharks and it's amazing to see these animals," she said. "There's been indications that we've been getting more lemon sharks, bull sharks, and fine tooth sharks over the past couple years. And this year we've definitely seen a lot of fine tooth sharks, which is very interesting."

Pullen says the change could come from water temperatures, currents or food resources.

"Climate instability could have something to do with it as well," she said.

"Again you want to check your beach warning flags. Check with your lifeguards to see what kind of issues are going on on your end of the beach. But it is the ocean so there's always going to be marine life out there," said Mitchell.

Copyright 2018 WMBF News. All rights reserved.