Saturday, April 30, 2016

Global jellyfish population exploding

Jellyfish populations the world over are exploding. More jellyfish are coming and that’s cause for alarm. The undulating, translucent creatures are notorious for their stings, which can be lethal. About 40 people are killed by jellyfish every year, compared to about eight killed by sharks.
Pollution and over-fishing may be the biggest culprits. The fewer fish that swim in the seas, the more food — such as plankton — is left for the jellies.

Overfishing also means that jellyfish have fewer encounters with the ocean-dwelling predators such as salmon.
Jellyfish wreak havoc by choking seawater intake valves and drainpipes, and clogging fishermen’s nets. “Jellies” have even been known to capsize fishing boats.

Researchers examined data and anecdotal evidence going back 60 years. They report that jellyfish populations are on the rise virtually everywhere, most acutely in areas with heavy concentrations of human activity. Coastal Europe and Asia and the Black Sea seem hardest hit.

Humans have little love or use for the creatures, which are sometimes called the “cockroaches of the sea.” Very few of the 2,000 known jellyfish species are considered fit for human consumption.