South Carolina

Hundreds of dead jellyfish, shrimp, crabs wash up on South Carolina beach

Photo: Post and Courier

SULLIVAN'S ISLAND, S.C. — Hundreds of dead jellyfish, some shrimp and crabs have washed up across the Sullivan's Island beach.

What's causing it? The Post and Courier reports it's due to summer breezes.

Cannonball jellies tend to turn up in the nearshore waters during April, pushed in from the Gulf Stream with washes of warmer water. They're a sign that the surf is approaching that magic room-temperature zone a lot of people find tempting on a hot day.

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When the wind blows as hard as it has, the jellies end up on the beach resulting in Monday's dead sea life find.

"Nothing unusual at all given the time of year and wind conditions since Sunday," said Mel Bell, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources fisheries management director. As for the other critters, "when the winds are blowing as hard as they have been, anything on the bottom gets bounced around a good bit and pushed ashore with the tide."

Jellies have been turning up on the sand at the Folly Beach pier for a couple of weeks, said Charleston County Park and Recreation aide Claire Seabrook. But staff at Isle of Palms County Park hasn't noticed any unusual numbers.

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The water temperature at the Folly Beach Pier was 68 degrees on Tuesday.

Temperature changes, winds and high tides tend to lead to the beaching of large numbers of a variety of different finfish, shellfish or other sea life from time to time. It can be startling even to people who frequent the dunes.

"We were completely flabbergasted by the amount of dead sea creatures that were washed up," Anna Etheridge of Johns Island said about the Sullivan's Island beach. "We walked down about a mile and saw hundreds of dead jellyfish, crabs, shrimp and even a dead horseshoe crab."