Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Nomura Jellyfish

060119_jellyfish

Until 2002, these giant creatures were seen only occasionally in Japanese waters. But for the past five years, they have been swarming every year into the Sea of Japan, the water that separates Japan from mainland Asia. During the biggest invasion so far, in 2005, an estimated 500 million jellyfish -- not yet mature -- drifted in each day.

It's hard to calculate financial damage to fishermen, but the Japanese government last year counted about 50,000 incidents of jellyfish trouble. Fish poisoned by jellyfish tentacles die with their mouths agape. That mars their appearance and reduces their value by as much as 20%. "When their mouths are wide open, it means they've died going, 'I'm in pain! I'm in pain!' " explains Mr. Yoshida.

Scientists have various ideas about what causes the outbreak. One has devised a computer model of ocean currents that suggests the jellyfish are breeding off the Chinese coast near the mouth of the Yangtze River. One theory is that pollution, perhaps linked to industrialization in China, is helping create more algae in the sea. The algae are food for plankton, which is food for jellyfish.


Source:
Invasion of Jellyfish Envelops Japan In Ocean of Slime
Pink 450-Pound Blobs Clog Nets but Spur New Recipes;
Pointing Fingers at China
SEBASTIAN MOFFETT
WSJ, November 27, 2007; Page A1
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119612452419404666.html

Posted at 06:09 AM in Food and Drink, Science | Permalink

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