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Canoeists fight to paddle through sea of jellyfish as population explodes

A bizarre video shows a group of canoeists struggling to paddle through a writhing mass of jellyfish that are smothering the sea’s surface.

In the clip, the water appears milky-white because it is packed so tight with the semi-transparent jellyfish that each of the creatures touch one another.

The canoeists have to disturb the wall of jellyfish just to paddle through the water.

In the background, a woman jokes: “It is like jellyfish Island.”

The incident was filmed in the Sea of Azov off the coast of Berdyansk in the south-eastern Ukrainian region of Zaporizhia Oblast and uploaded on YouTube where it has been watched more than 110,000 times.

Jellyfish are common in the area, but it is rare to see as many as there are currently smothering the sea, according to the news site Lenta.

Despite the recent reports of thousands of dead jellyfish washing up on the Crimean Peninsula a few months ago, the person filming the video said that these weird specimens were definitely alive and kicking.

Konstantin Demyanenko, deputy director of the Research Institute of Fisheries and Marine Ecology, claimed that the dramatic increase in jellyfish numbers is due to the water becoming saltier.

He said: “In the Sea of Azov, this figure is now 14 ppm (parts per million), which is one-and-a-half times higher than in the 1990s.

"And also, climate change causes an effect.”

Demyanenko added that storms are expected in the coming days which could cause the jellyfish to drift towards the shore.

The jellyfish in the video are believed to be moon jelly (Aurelia aurita) which is a common species of jellyfish that is unable to sting humans.

Moon jellies eat plankton and, like all jellyfish species, have no brain, blood, or heart.

This comes after compass jellyfish with a notoriously-painful sting were spotted off the British coast at a popular staycation hotspot.

And lion's mane jellyfish with stinging tentacles "metres long" were confirmed to be present in the waters off the coast of North Wales.

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