News Details

Clinging jellyfish in the Shrewsbury and Manasquan Rivers

In light of the recent confirmed discovery of the clinging jellyfish in the Shrewsbury and Manasquan Rivers, I am writing to provide you with the most current information DEP has about these marine animals and to ask for your help in disseminating this information to your community.

I have enclosed the following for your information and distribution:
· A DEP Fact Sheet about the clinging jellyfish; and
· A list and a map showing where this jellyfish has been confirmed to be found.

It is important to remember that as of today there are confirmed sightings of the clinging jellyfish only in the Shrewsbury and Manasquan Rivers. There have been no confirmed sightings in Barnegat Bay. In addition, this species of jellyfish is unlikely to be found along our ocean coast and, as expected, there have not been any confirmed sightings in those waters.

To determine, as best as possible, the extent to which clinging jellyfish are present in the areas where some have already been found, DEP has contracted with Montclair State University’s Dr. Paul Bologna. Dr. Bologna and his team will be examining various locations in the Shrewsbury and Manasquan Rivers, as well as in the northern section of Barnegat Bay near the Point Pleasant Canal. This study will increase our understanding of the presence of clinging jellyfish in these waters.

This species of jellyfish prefers shallow waters that contain such plants as eelgrass, or shells, to which it clings during the day. Because it is sensitive to light, it tends to remain clinging to the plant or shell until nighttime, when it rises in the water column to feed. If, however, it is disturbed during the day by someone wading or swimming past, it may release itself and sting the person who inadvertently disturbed it.

Public interest in this subject is growing. DEP has started to receive inquiries about the clinging jellyfish from organizations that offer activities in these local waters, including Barnegat Bay and elsewhere along the coast. To help keep the public informed, please forward this email and attachments to all organizations in your community (such as local yacht clubs, kayaking clubs, swimming groups, or others) that conduct activities (such as swimming lessons or boating lessons) in and around the waters of the Shrewsbury River, Manasquan River and Barnegat Bay, the rivers or canals that feed into them, and the Atlantic coast. Of course, please feel free to forward this email to anyone else you think would benefit from the information.

The information included in this email is also available on DEP’s website at The information on our website will be updated regularly, so please be sure to check it regularly for the latest information. These updates will include, on an ongoing basis, the results of the research Dr. Bologna and his team are conducting, as well as any additional locations where there may be confirmed sightings of the clinging jellyfish.

Please remember that the information we are providing is based on the best data available at the time it is provided. As you know, the marine environment is constantly changing and what is accurate today may be different tomorrow. So people are urged to stay current on the information we provide so that they can make informed judgments about their activities.

Thank you for your assistance in getting this information to your community. If you have any questions please feel free to contact Bob Bostock in the Commissioner’s Office at or at 609-984-1795.