Ministry Issues Warning On Venomous Man O’ War In Oman

22 Jan 2020
POSTED BY Alvin Thomas

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has issued a warning to residents and visitors around the coast of the Governorate of Dhofar to stay vigilant while in the sea.

This comes after the ministry identified a jellyfish-like species called the Portuguese Man O’ War (also known as the ‘Man of War’ or ‘Blue Bottle’) in the waters between Al Mughassil Beach in Salalah and the Taqah Beach.

The Fisheries Research Center in the Dhofar Governorate affiliated to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries reported that the spread of this organism was recorded for the first time in the Sultanate.

Reports show that the species, which is a part of the Physalia Utriculus genus, has spread in large numbers – and is less toxic than other species that are spread across Atlantic Ocean.

The marine hydrozoan can be identified by its transparent blue colour and (on average) 1.5m long nematocysts. Due to its colour, the species is hard to identify in the water.

Its stings can cause severe pain with some mild to moderate cuts to the skin, redness and scratching. The intensity of the complications may increase in children, the elderly, and those with weaker immunities.

The center has called for caution when going out swimming to the beaches in the aforementioned areas. Even the nematocysts of a dead Man O’ War can deliver a painful sting.

A sting can be treated by washing it with sea water, fresh water, or vinegar. Do not rub the affected area and wash it by pouring sea water on the site of the injury. Do not handle any remaining nematocysts with your bare hands, and head straight to the nearest health center for treatment. – ONA

How To Treat Man O’ War Stings

  • Jellyfish and the Portuguese man-of-war can deliver painful and potentially life-threatening stings.
  • The first step of first aid is to remove the victim from the water. While some people are allergic to venom, the main risk comes from drowning.
  • Seek emergency aid if the victim is having trouble breathing.
  • For simple stings, use a shell or credit card to remove any tentacles clinging to skin.
  • Vinegar is the most common chemical used to deactivate the stinging cells. While it’s fine to use salt water to rinse the area, fresh water should be avoided because it can cause stinging cells to release venom all at once.
  • It’s best to avoid jellyfish. Tentacles from dead animals can still sting!


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