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View Full Version : Invasion of the Giant Jellyfish



George.
01-19-2006, 10:28 AM
http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/2006/WORLD/asiapcf/01/19/japan.jellyfish.reut/story.hugejellyfish.jpg

:eek: :eek:


TOKYO, Japan (Reuters) -- A slimy jellyfish weighing as much as a sumo wrestler has Japan's fishing industry in the grip of its poisonous tentacles.

Vast numbers of Echizen kurage, or Nomura's jellyfish, have appeared around Japan's coast since July, clogging and ripping fishing nets and forcing fishermen to spend hours hacking them apart before bringing home their reduced catches.

Representatives of fishing communities around the country gathered in Tokyo on Thursday, hoping to thrash out solutions to a pest that has spread from the Japan Sea to the Pacific coast.

"It's a terrible problem. They're like aliens," Noriyuki Kani of the fisheries federation in Toyama, northwest of Tokyo, told Reuters ahead of the conference.

There are no official figures on the size of the problem, but Kani says the financial losses are obvious.

"If your nets are full of jellyfish, of course there is no space for fish," he said.

Cutting up and disposing of the giants can turn a three-hour fishing trip into a 10-hour marathon, while valuable fish are poisoned or crushed under the weight of the unwanted catch.

And what a catch. One Echizen kurage can be up to 2 meters (6 feet, 7 inches) in diameter and weigh up to 200 kilograms (440 pounds).

Despite their size, the invertebrates aren't toxic enough to cause serious harm to humans, but fishermen often wear goggles and protective clothing to avoid stings when dealing with them.

Much about the jellyfish, the largest variety found in the Sea of Japan, remains a mystery, according to Hitoshi Iizumi of the Seikai National Fisheries Research Institute in Niigata.

Researchers have suggested they drift to Japan on currents after reproducing in South Korean or Chinese waters, a theory that Japan wants to investigate with the other two nations.

But with relations between Japan and its nearest neighbors at a low ebb, Tokyo wants to avoid apportioning blame.

"We have a neutral stance," said Yukihiko Sakamoto of the National Fisheries Agency, which organized Thursday's conference.

web page (http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/asiapcf/01/19/japan.jellyfish.reut/index.html)

Harry Miller
01-19-2006, 03:49 PM
Revenge of the by-catch smile.gif