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During routine water pump maintenance yesterday, unfiltered sea-water was inadvertently pumped into the Darwin Waterfront’s Recreation Lagoon. During water testing shortly after, two jellyfish specimens were found and the Recreation Lagoon is now closed.
The specimens are very young, measuring about 2mm long, and posed no risk to humans. Box jellyfish become a threat at around 8 to 10 cm.
The Darwin Waterfront Corporation is working with world leading jellyfish expert Dr Lisa Gershwin at CSIRO, and with the Northern Territory Museum here in Darwin.
The Recreation Lagoon will remain closed for the next 10 days while spotlighting, drag netting and water treatment is undertaken by the Corporation in consultation with its contracted experts.
The Corporation is reviewing procedures to ensure future pump changes do not allow untreated sea-water into the Recreation Lagoon and apologises for the inconvenience to swimmers during the closure period.
“Box jellyfish are not lethal until they are about 8 to 10 cm in size, this gives the Corporation plenty of time to activate its safety measures and remove the threat. The Corporation has well established and effective jellyfish mitigation measures that draw on the latest jellyfish biological and ecological science” said Dr Gershwin.
“Public safety is the Corporation’s number-one priority. The good news about this incursion is that our jellyfish safety protocols worked effectively and as designed to immediately notify us of the presence of the jellyfish” said Darwin Waterfront Corporation General Manager Sam Burke.
“We will continue to work proactively with experts like Dr Gershwin and our lifeguards to ensure the Recreation Lagoon remains one of the safest places in the Top End to swim.”