The risks of an ocean full of jelly

  • CERF Futures - Jellyfish image

    (C) liakapelke @ http://www.flickr.com

    Overfishing is reducing the number of predators in the oceans, thus allowing for an explosion of prey species, such as jellyfish. The jellyfish blooms prey on fish eggs and larvae and are a significant cause of fish mortality. The impact of jellyfish on fisheries is an important though seldom studied subject.

  •  Jellyfish can clog equipment ranging from fishing gear to the cooling system of coastal energy plants and industry.
  •  A number of suggestions about how to deal with jellyfish blooms have been put forward, including catching and preserving the jellyfish for the Chinese food market, utilizing jellyfish chemicals to make medicines or using cutting nets to kill them.

Implications and next steps: Jellyfish blooms can be taken as a sign of overfishing and an indicator of the health of the marine food chain. Their prevalence is a visual reminder of the danger of exploiting fish stocks at unsustainable levels. In the meantime, it may be possible to develop viable markets for jellyfish making it worthwhile for fishermen to take advantage of periodic abundance.

Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations: http://tinyurl.com/m5swxlk, http://tinyurl.com/kt4hbwf, Foreign Policy: http://tinyurl.com/ksc3yo8

About annaarathe

Research fellow, horizon scanning
This entry was posted in Oceans, Marine Life and Fisheries. Bookmark the permalink.

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