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article imageJapan braces for giant jellyfish plague

By Kevin Jess     Aug 27, 2009 in Environment
Japanese marine experts have given warning that the country’s northern coastline is under threat from a plague of giant jellyfish.
Fishermen in northern Japan are bracing for a “massive” inundation of huge Nomura’s jellyfish this autumn reports the Telegraph.
Nomura's jellyfish are one of the largest jellyfish in the world. The species can grow up to 2 meters in diameter and weigh 200 kg. The last time the phenomenon occurred on a similar scale was in the summer of 2005 when the jellyfish damaged nets, rendered fish inedible with toxic stings and injured fishermen.
The first jellyfish have been reported off the coasts of Shimane, Kyoto and Niigata, reports Redskynews.
“We have reports of massive bloomings of young jellyfish near the Chinese coast, where the ecosystems of the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea are favorable for breeding,” said Professor Shinichi Uye, a leading expert on the species at the Graduate School of Biosphere Science of Hiroshima University.
The mating and migration habits of this animal are not clearly understood and a series of studies have been encouraged by the Japanese government to research it.
The sting of this giant jellyfish is rather painful but not toxic enough to cause serious harm to humans. But there have been reports that the sting has caused build-up of fluid inside the lungs. Although the reported number of human injuries is low, a few unlucky swimmers have been killed by this giant says Jelly-fishfacts.net.
There are many theories that are said to be the cause of this explosion. One is global warming where the seas have been warmed and are better suited for their breeding. And scientists blame the over-fishing of the natural predators of the Jellyfish and the pollution along the coast. The high levels of nutrients in the water are also linked to this sudden jellyfish bloom.
The jellyfish has been named one of the top five species threatening to take over the earth by Cracked.com along with dolphins and even a giant ant colony.
Scientists are looking at finding other uses for the jellyfish including using it in ice cream and cosmetics.
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