Successful Med-Jellyrisk conference
A two-day Med-Jellyrisk conference on the impact of jellyfish blooms on coastal tourism and aquaculture and on the range of innovative tools being developed to address the phenomenon was organised by the International Ocean Institute-Malta Operational Centre (IOI-MOC) on May 20 and 21 to coincide with European Maritime Day.
The conference was opened by MTA chairman Gavin Gulia and featured keynote speeches by world-renowned experts including Prof. Bella Galil, Prof. Jennifer Purcell and Prof. Stefano Piraino, as well as stakeholders from the local tourism industry, such as scuba diving clubs, beach managers, beach lifeguard groups and hotel operators, as well as representatives from the aquaculture industry.
During the first day of the conference, an overview was given of the mathematical modelling tools being developed to predict the occurrence and dispersion of jellyfish blooms. Details were also given about the Med-Jelly smart phone application being released locally. This can be downloaded for Android phones from the following link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jelly.med.mobileapp and for iPhone from the following link: https://itunes. apple.com/LY/app/id868757617?mt=8.
Other presentations were about new biotechnological products for the cosmetic and nutrition supplement sectors that are being produced from jellyfish, and about the global impact of jellyfish blooms on coastal tourism, aquaculture and fisheries.
During the second day, pharmacist Mark Zammit delivered a talk on the treatment of jellyfish stings on the beach at St George’s Bay, where a demonstration of the deployment of the anti-jellyfish net was also given. Conference participants were given a booklet with abstracts of all the presentations, a waterproof factsheet with answers to the most common questions about jellyfish blooms, a waterproof booklet with scientific advice as how to treat the stings of different jellyfish species and a pack of 20 postcards featuring most of the jellyfish species occurring in local waters.
Readers wishing to obtain a free copy of any of this educational material may send an e-mail to me on the e-mail below or call on 2340 3704.
The University’s Department of Biology and the IOI-MOC are partners in the Med-Jellyrisk project, which is funded under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument Cross-Border Cooperation Mediterranean Sea Basin Programme 2007-2013. The programme is 90 per cent co-financed by the EU through the European Regional Development Fund and 10 per cent by national funds.