Attack of the Godzilla Jellyfish
Nomura’s Jellyfish are gigantic creatures measuring upwards of six to seven feet across and weigh in at a whopping four to five hundred pounds. These giant jellyfish normally reside in the Yellow and East China Seas but warm ocean currents seem to be bringing these monsters to Japan.
The main problem with this invasion is the devastation it wreaks on commercial fishing. They decimate fish populations and it only takes a couple of these sumo wrestler sized animals to destroy a harvest net. The risk of a fishing boat capsizing due to having a number of these creatures caught in it’s nets is a real and present danger. In addition fishermen suffer by being stung when trying to remove these jellyfish from their nets.
In 2005 there was another invasion of these gigantic jellyfish that caused an estimated 100,000 instances of damage. During that invasion estimates are that possibly as many as a half a billion of the creatures swam through the into the Sea of Japan.
Japan has tried to kill the creatures before they reach Japan, however the Nomura’s Jellyfish has an unusual survival mechanism in that when it is attacked or killed it releases millions of sperm and eggs which then attach to rock and coral formations. When they mature they release from the rock, millions at a time, and become jellyfish.
Japan has also tried to use the surplus they have of this creature, trying to create a market for in the way of foods, and cosmetic products.
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There are several theories as to why Japan is having the problem with the giant jellyfish but no one knows exactly what is causing the problem. The theories range from blaming farms and industry allowing nutrient rich run off to flow into the sea, to blaming China for over-fishing their waters and destroying the giant jellyfish natural predators.
Two theories given a little more credence are that coastal development has created a much friendlier environment for the spawning of these creatures, along with the building of the on the in China releasing excess nitrogen and phosphorus also creating a friendly environment for breeding.
Image via Wikipedia
In any event, should the problem these monsters create not be dealt with in an efficient manner, what is sure is that harvests of salmon, anchovies, and tuna will suffer.