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Posted Fri Jan 14 2011: from Yale360:
Massive Outbreak of Jellyfish Could Spell Trouble for Fisheries
Among the spineless creatures of the world, the Nomura's jellyfish is a monster to be reckoned with. It's the size of a refrigerator -- imagine a Frigidaire Gallery Premiere rather than a hotel minibar -- and can exceed 450 pounds. For decades the hulking medusa was rarely encountered in its stomping grounds, the Sea of Japan. Only three times during the entire 20th century did numbers of the Nomura's swell to such gigantic proportions that they seriously clogged fishing nets. Then something changed. Since 2002, the population has exploded -- in jelly parlance, bloomed -- 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.... Now, researchers fear, conditions are becoming so bad that some ecosystems could be approaching a tipping point in which jellyfish supplant fish.... Fish and jellyfish "interact in complex ways," says Kylie Pitt, an ecologist at Griffith University in Australia. Overfishing can throw this complex relationship out of kilter.
[Read more stories about: jellyfish, koyaanisqatsi, predator depletion, overfishing]

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