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article imageNorthern Irish salmon farm wiped out by 'billions' of Mediterranean jellyfish

By Paul Wallis     Nov 22, 2007 in Environment
What happens if your salmon farm gets attacked by a 35 foot deep, 10 square mile horde of jellyfish? You’re short a salmon farm, and $2 million worth of fish. The massive plague wiped out 100,000 salmon, and the company which was farming them.
The jellyfish were so thick boats couldn’t even get to the fish for three hours, trying to penetrate the massive school to rescue them. The managing director of the farm, who’d only been in the job three days when the attack occurred, said the sea was red with the jellyfish.
CNN says that the jellyfish are a Mediterranean species, known as “mauve stingers”, rarely seen in waters around Ireland or Britain.
This is a recent story, and the CNN story and the Daily Mail pieces are virtually identical, although the Daily Mail did get some pictures like the one above, a mass of jellyfish in a fairly ambiguous shot.
Also notable, this happened in late Autumn, as sea temperatures are cooling. Getting out of the Mediterranean unnoticed, in those numbers, wouldn’t be easy, either. They’d affect shipping.
The Northern Salmon Company, an organic fish company, has been effectively wiped out by the attack, and says it will close, unless it receives emergency aid from the government.
They may not be the only ones. The sort of numbers in this jellyfish attack had to come from somewhere. If other sea farming in the North Atlantic is exposed to seasonal attacks on this scale, both sea farms and fishing grounds are in big trouble.
They could decimate North Atlantic fish stocks.
Short of attacking the swarms with explosives or drift nets, there’s not much in the way of methods of stopping them.
More about Jellyfish, Salmon, Aqua farming