Jellyfish, gelatinous marine animals, are free-swimming in the Mediterranean and usually non-aggressive. But jellyfish reproduction has increased in recent years due to over-fishing and climate change. When the sea warms up (usually in April) or starts to cool down (usually in September) you can see large swarms of jellyfish across the coast and in the bays.
Summer is also considered a high jellyfish season. The most common jellyfish in Malta is the Mauve Stingers, which are usually found near the surface of the water during times of diminished light or after washing up on the beach. They aren’t deadly but their stings do pack a punch. They’re harder to spot when they float solo. Therefore, you may not notice it but only feel a sting. One more species of jellyfish was recorded around Malta is the so-called Australian spotted jellyfish which can inflict a very mild sting when one comes in contact with it.
A purple flag on a beach indicates the possibility of jellyfish. To avoid jellyfish, pay attention to the direction of the wind since they move with the current. Or simply look for information about areas free of jellyfish and safe to swim in.
When is the best time to visit Malta to avoid jellyfish?
If you want to avoid jellyfish when visiting Malta, it's best to come between October and March, which is outside the high jellyfish season. This season runs from April to September, during which the sea is warm and allows jellyfish to breed. By avoiding these months, you increase your chances of swimming in jellyfish-free waters. Show more
What are the most common species of jellyfish in Malta?
Throughout Malta's waters, one of the most frequent species of jellyfish is the Mauve Stingers. These jellyfish typically float at the water's surface and can be found washed up on the beach. Although the Australian spotted jellyfish is also present, it is less common and causes a mild sting. Show more
How can I tell if a beach is safe for swimming or likely to have jellyfish?
To determine whether a beach in Malta is suitable for swimming or has jellyfish present, be mindful of wind direction because jellyfish float with the ocean's current. Purple flags indicate the possibility of jellyfish in the water. You can check with local authorities or use travel guidebooks and online resources to locate jellyfish-free and safe swimming areas. When in doubt, pack protective gear like vinegar, jellyfish repellent, or wetsuits to guard against stings. Show more
Why are jellyfish populations increasing in the Mediterranean?
Human activities account for the rising jellyfish numbers in the Mediterranean. Due to overfishing, jellyfish have fewer predators to consume them; thus, they reproduce and spread. Pollution is another factor that causes jellyfish to thrive more than other marine life in the region. As the ocean temperatures change due to global warming, jellyfish enjoy more favorable reproduction conditions. Show more
What should I do if I'm stung by a jellyfish while swimming in Malta?
If you're swimming in Malta and a jellyfish stings you, taking swift action is crucial. Rinse the wound with seawater and ensure that there are no tentacles present on the skin. Apply jellyfish sting products, baking soda, or vinegar on the affected area. If severe symptoms like breathing difficulties emerge or the pain intensifies, go to the nearest hospital. Show more