As Fish Die Off, Jellyfish To Dominate Earth’s Oceans

Nomura-jellyfish-2Around the globe, fish populations are declining while the number of jellyfish is exploding. Climate change may be “turning back the clock to the Precambrian world, more than 550 million years ago, when the ancestors of jellyfish ruled the seas,” writes Yale Environment 360. Bow down to our future gelatinous overlords:

The world’s oceans have been experiencing enormous blooms of jellyfish, apparently caused by overfishing, declining water quality, and rising sea temperatures. Now, scientists are trying to determine if these outbreaks could represent a “new normal” in which jellyfish increasingly supplant fish.

The Nomura’s jellyfish is a monster to be reckoned with. It’s the size of a refrigerator and can exceed 450 pounds. For decades the hulking medusa was rarely encountered in its stomping grounds, the Sea of Japan.

Then something changed. Since 2002, the population has exploded six times. In 2005, a particularly bad year, the Sea of Japan brimmed with as many as 20 billion of the bobbing bags of blubber, bludgeoning fisheries with 30 billion yen in losses.

Why has the Nomura’s jellyfish become a recurring nightmare? The answer could portend trouble for the world’s oceans. In recent years, populations of several jellyfish species have made inroads at the expense of their main competitor — fish — in a number of regions, including the Yellow Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Black Sea. Overfishing and deteriorating coastal water quality are chief suspects in the rise of jellies. Global warming may be adding fuel to the fire by making more food available to jellyfish and opening up new habitat. Now, researchers fear, conditions are becoming so bad that some ecosystems could be approaching a tipping point in which jellyfish supplant fish.

“When an ecosystem is dominated by jellyfish, fish will mostly disappear,” says ecologist Sun Song, director of the Institute of Oceanology in Qingdao, China. “Once that happens,” he contends, “there is almost no method to deal with it.” Just think of attempting to purge the Sea of Japan of billions of Nomura’s jellyfish, many of them hovering meters below the surface and therefore invisible to satellites or the naked eye. Total jelly domination would be like turning back the clock to the Precambrian world, more than 550 million years ago, when the ancestors of jellyfish ruled the seas.

, , , , , , ,

  • Hadrian999

    how do they taste?

  • Hadrian999

    how do they taste?

  • Yakir

    I’d guess “chewy,” pass the tartar and marinara…

  • Yakir

    I’d guess “chewy,” pass the tartar and marinara…

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/JohnMeetsFKennedy JMFK

    Also, I read that trying to kill them is completely futile.

    • Hadrian999

      it would be considering they exploded up from a very small number, unless you wiped them out they would just make a comeback unless the conditions leading to the population explosion were corrected.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/JohnMeetsFKennedy JMFK

    Also, I read that trying to kill them is completely futile.

  • Hadrian999

    it would be considering they exploded up from a very small number, unless you wiped them out they would just make a comeback unless the conditions leading to the population explosion were corrected.

  • Demineus

    ive seen these thing en-rote from japan to korea in 06, from 20ft up, but they are everywhere, you can see um at different depths maybe 10 or 20 ft down, so you’re really only seeing the ones on the surface, everywhere, ive seen um warshed up too, there big, wonder if you can eat um

  • Demineus

    ive seen these thing en-rote from japan to korea in 06, from 20ft up, but they are everywhere, you can see um at different depths maybe 10 or 20 ft down, so you’re really only seeing the ones on the surface, everywhere, ive seen um warshed up too, there big, wonder if you can eat um

  • anonymous

    Uh huh… So, it goes like this:

    1. pollute waters; eat as many as possible of the more evolved organisms
    2. wonder why the less evolved, more robust organisms start to take over
    3. What to do? Kill them!!!!
    4. wonder why the oceans are now giant algae blooms

  • anonymous

    Uh huh… So, it goes like this:

    1. pollute waters; eat as many as possible of the more evolved organisms
    2. wonder why the less evolved, more robust organisms start to take over
    3. What to do? Kill them!!!!
    4. wonder why the oceans are now giant algae blooms

21
More in Biology, Climate Change, Environment, Fish, Global Warming, Jellyfish, Marine Life
Blue M&M’s Turn Rats Blue and Help Heal Spinal Injuries: WTF?

Here's a really crazy "health" story in 2009 from CNN I recently found. If you want some technical info on this dye check out its Wikipedia page. Reports CNN Health:...

Close