Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Jellyfish Sting the Future

The water off central Florida beaches on the Atlantic Ocean were thick with jellyfish this past weekend according to CNN and other media.

Lots of annoying stings and many people who arrived for a nice beach day promptly left, taking their tourism dollars with them. The story may go deeper than that.

Although no one is saying this particular jellyfish bloom was caused by overfishing, pollution, and/or warmer ocean temperatures due to climate change, it is possible.

"Overfishing and deteriorating coastal water quality are chief suspects in the rise of jellies. Global warming may be adding fuel to the fire by making more food available to jellyfish and opening up new habitat. Now, researchers fear, conditions are becoming so bad that some ecosystems could be approaching a tipping point in which jellyfish supplant fish," according to Richard Stone in Environment 360

It's all about balance, a common mantra at Eco Ocean.

When you remove the jellyfish's chief predator -- fish -- from an area, the jellyfish have a field day and their numbers increase dramatically.

The rise of the jellyfish has been documented in many other places including the Black Sea, The Gulf of Mexico, and Sea of Japan. According to some scientists, this could be the wave of the future.

One more reason to support sustainable seafood and clean energy whenever and wherever possible.  

Environment 360.
Story from CNN.
Image courtesy of amazingdata.com

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