CHARLESTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Sen. Jack Reed is calling upon the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to investigate the significant increase in the sea nettle jellyfish population at two Charlestown ponds.
The R.I. Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Marine Fisheries recently reported high numbers of Atlantic sea nettle jellyfish in Ninigret and Green Hill ponds.
While sea nettles are commonly found in salt ponds throughout Rhode Island during the summer months, the DEM is unsure why their population has increased by the thousands.
In a letter to NOAA Administrator Richard Spinrad, Reed requested the federal agency provide state officials with information about jellyfish blooms, migration and monitoring.
“With 400 miles of coastline and an ocean tourism industry that supports more than 36,000 jobs, the increased presence of jellyfish on Rhode Island’s beaches threatens the health and safety of the state’s residents and local economy,” Reed wrote. “In light of this recent incident in Rhode Island, and evidence that temperatures will only continue to rise, I believe more research is needed on changes in jellyfish blooms and migration.”
Reed asked that NOAA provide him with this information by Aug. 13.