Velella velella turn Tofino, B.C., shore into sea of blue

Tofino, B.C., beachgoers were surprised Monday morning to discover that thousands of tiny jellyfish-like creatures had washed up on local beaches, something the mayor calls a rare but natural occurrence.

Tofino's mayor says shore appearance of jellyfish-like creatures a rare but natural occurrence

Beaches on the West Coast of Vancouver Island lie littered with dead jellyfish-like creatures 1:42

Tofino, B.C., beachgoers were surprised Monday morning to discover that thousands of tiny jellyfish-like creatures had washed up on local beaches.

George Timmins was getting ready for a morning surf when he noticed the Velella velella — and shot some home video.

Last month, thousands of Velella velella also washed ashore in Oregon.

Thousands of tiny jellyfish-like creatures known as Velella velella washed up on Tofino beaches Monday morning. (CHEK TV)

Velella velella are small carnivorous animals related to jellyfish and do sting, but not enough to harm people.

"There is no way they could survive," said Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne, a marine biologist. "They are ocean creatures that are normally found hundreds of miles off-shore in the Pacific. It is a rare event, but a natural event for them to wash up on shore."

Now the District of Tofino will also let nature conduct the cleanup.

The creatures will start rotting, likely causing a bit of a stink, but no other harm.

Osborne says it should only last a few days.

No one knows if more Velella velella will be coming ashore. They can't swim, so their movements are dictated by the wind and the current — far from the coast.

Velella velella are small carnivorous animals related to jellyfish and do sting, but not enough to harm people. (CHEK TV)

With files from the CBC's Richard Zussman

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