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Jellyfish swarm massacres unsuspecting salmon
November 23, 2007 1:16 AM   Subscribe

Billions of jellyfish destroy a coastal fishery in Ireland. Next they will be attacking your children. Feel free to flee in terror...if you can.
posted by baphomet (56 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
They're doing pretty damn well for creatures with no brains. This National Geographic videoclip is pretty interesting. This one, too.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:39 AM on November 23, 2007


EAT MOR JELYFISH
posted by gomichild at 2:07 AM on November 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


I read that book.
posted by telstar at 2:17 AM on November 23, 2007


Is this more Cloverfield publicity?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:51 AM on November 23, 2007


I come from Northern Ireland. On a recent trip to China, I ate jellyfish. Fuckers have followed me home.
posted by The Ultimate Olympian at 2:51 AM on November 23, 2007


Idiots find out that farming involves nature. Fortunately the most lucrative crop farmers can grow is requests for government assistance for failing to both insure and ensure your business.
posted by srboisvert at 3:00 AM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


They're idiots for not anticipating mass jellyfish invasions brought on by global warming? That's pretty harsh. Maybe there are policy reasons for gov't subsidized salmon farming. Like reducing overfishing of wild salmon, for example.
posted by ryanrs at 3:35 AM on November 23, 2007


Are you saying it is unheard of that there are climate fluctuations that affect fish farming? Mass Jellyfish invasions are not known to happen? I am not a fisherman yet I have known about the steadily increasing jellyfish infestations in Europe for over a year just from watching TV and reading metafilter.

Subsidizing fish farming through grants and such as a part of policy is fine. Bailing out business operators who don't protect their own and the governments investment against risk isn't. Give the grant to the next applicant but not this applicant who just lost 2 million quid by being a poor risk manager.

Plus I am curious how they were feeding their fish and clearing wastes. Often the unusual jellyfish infestations are attributable to more local environmental changes like sewage that make their food sources more abundant. Something like say fish farming which produces nitrogen and phosphorus which jellyfish like? They may have even created the disaster that wiped them out.
posted by srboisvert at 4:00 AM on November 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


Jellyfish trive in water that's highly polluted with organic wastes. Fish farms, and salmon farms in particular, have pretty high waste burdens on the surrounding ecosystems. When wastes go up jellyfish proliferate.

Jellyfish aren't fish---they can't move very far or very quickly. They tend to opportunisticly spawn where conditions are favorable. Part of responsible farming is good waste management. It's quite arguable that this "attack" was a direct consequence of overloading the local ecosystem.
posted by bonehead at 4:42 AM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ten square miles of jellyfish, to a depth of 35 feet, and so thick that boats could not reach the salmon. Maybe they were expecting the boats would still work, jellyfish or no. From the article, it sounds like the boats could be used to save the fish (not clear how). It certainly sounds unprecedented, at least in magnitude. Do you disagree?

Also, note that this isn't some huge agribusiness conglomerate. Sounds like they only have about a dozen staff.
posted by ryanrs at 4:46 AM on November 23, 2007


Ten square miles of jellyfish, to a depth of 35 feet. And they didn't anticipate that?

Fucking amateurs.

Even grain farmers know to insure against... wait a minute, ten square miles?
posted by From Bklyn at 5:12 AM on November 23, 2007


Ten square miles isn't really a big area. It's a square a little more than 3 miles (5 km) on a side, the area of a small bay, perhaps.
posted by bonehead at 5:16 AM on November 23, 2007


Ten square miles isn't really a big area.

Fuck of a lotta jellyfish in there, though...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:18 AM on November 23, 2007


Stupid salmon!
posted by greenskpr at 5:41 AM on November 23, 2007


Ten square miles isn't really a big area. It's a square a little more than 3 miles (5 km) on a side, the area of a small bay, perhaps.

How'd you figure that out, bonehead?

sorry. I couldn't stop myself.

Still, it's about 275 million cubic meters. Of stinging, vicious, blood-thirsty, lachs-lusting jelly fish. The horror. The ouchy, squishy horror.
posted by From Bklyn at 6:10 AM on November 23, 2007


ATTACK OF THE KILLER JELLYFISH
posted by triv at 6:18 AM on November 23, 2007


They're doing pretty damn well for creatures with no brains.

Sorry, this straight line is too simple.
posted by eriko at 6:32 AM on November 23, 2007


Ten square miles isn't really a big area.

That's half the size of Manhattan (land area 23 sq mi). Imagine Manhattan buried under 15 feet of jellyfish. That's a hell of a thing to anticipate.
posted by ryanrs at 6:32 AM on November 23, 2007


flapjax: This National Geographic videoclip is pretty interesting

True. It's also sensationalistic and misleading. Although I share their concern about "our" oceans, I'd like some more actual information about the extent of these blooms before I freak out about this problem.

Oh wait. I live in the middle of a continent. We're safe here!
posted by sneebler at 6:47 AM on November 23, 2007


Well, unless a twister deposits a bunch of them on you.
posted by Artw at 7:01 AM on November 23, 2007


Assuming the fish farmers had foreseen this, what could they actually have done about it (other than closing down)?
posted by Phanx at 7:02 AM on November 23, 2007


Jellyfish are the secret ingredients in Mr. Crabs' Crabby Patties.
posted by doctorschlock at 7:11 AM on November 23, 2007


Well, unless a twister deposits a bunch of them on you.

Now you're talking a good disaster-flick scenario!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:12 AM on November 23, 2007


...lachs-lusting jelly fish.

Hope one of the little critters didn't forget the bagels and cream cheese.

Oh, wait, they don't have brains. Of course they forgot the bagels and cream cheese. Numbskulls.

Oh, wait, they don't have skulls either.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:16 AM on November 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


I don't think they were ready for that jelly.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:33 AM on November 23, 2007 [4 favorites]


Assuming the fish farmers had foreseen this, what could they actually have done about it (other than closing down)?

It's called business insurance.
posted by srboisvert at 7:38 AM on November 23, 2007


Note to self: Gibber in terror for ten minutes this morning.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:44 AM on November 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


Hmm, I'm a bit hazy on this, but is your business being completely wiped out by highly unlikely events something that the average business insurance package covers? What are the premiums like on that?
posted by Artw at 8:02 AM on November 23, 2007


Sorry, for being abbreviated. The context for my "that's not so big" remark is this: that's a small enough bloom that it's almost certainly from a single point source (or close cluster of sources). In other words, there's been a local change in one bay rather than, say, a large section of the coast going eutrophic.
posted by bonehead at 8:12 AM on November 23, 2007


I think it's called an Act of God, in fact, and you're stuffed.

Only fair to concede, though, that if they had foreseen this particular calamity, they could have tried to get insurance which covered it.
posted by Phanx at 8:16 AM on November 23, 2007


For those of you who haven't been paying attention, yes, the oceans are pretty much fucked, and yes, it's our fault.

Try the tilapia.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 8:33 AM on November 23, 2007


It's called business insurance.

Assuming loss really was caused by the fish farm themselves, can you get business insurance for causing your own damages? Wow. It's like a farmer insuring against loss or watertable or soil salination.
posted by bonehead at 8:43 AM on November 23, 2007


loss or of watertable (damnit)
posted by bonehead at 8:45 AM on November 23, 2007


OMG, it's like Slime by John Halkin, one of my favorite awful novels. It's even in Britain!

Next, the jellyfish will be flopping slowly onto land and killing those Britons who can't outrun their tidelike pace.

See also its magnificent cover, complete with angry eyes.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:53 AM on November 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


This is what we get for killing off most of the sea turtles.

Turtles eat jellyfish. Remove the predators, the prey population explodes. With essentially unlimited food sources and no predators, the prey population will balloon even more.
posted by caution live frogs at 9:06 AM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


I am not scared of anything in this world except jellyfish. So I am going to pretend I never read these articles and know nothing of jellyfish invasions.
posted by schroedinger at 9:33 AM on November 23, 2007


flapjax: This National Geographic videoclip is pretty interesting

True. But I also found it sensationalistic and misleading. That's what sells NG, I suppose. No telling what those jellyfish can get up to in the depths of "our" oceans.

Oh wait. I live in the middle of a continent, and they can't get me here!
posted by sneebler at 9:44 AM on November 23, 2007


Oh wait. I live in the middle of a continent, and they can't get me here!

You know, that's what they said about the piranha before the little bastards learned to fly.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:20 AM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Global warming. Jellyfish that usually only spawn in this manner in the Mediterranean, a balmy, warm environment, now spawn off the coast of Ireland, traditionally so fucking cold that brass monkeys with retracted balls can regularly be seen going home for a coat.

Saying 'they're idiots for not planning for this' is like saying those people in New Orleans should have forseen the full extent and impact of Katrina. Perhaps worse, such blooms just don't happen as far North as in Ireland. Well... they do now.

Jellyfish can in fact swim. They undulate. As far as the distance they can travel, once they get on an ocean current they can go considerable distances. They can not 'opportunistically spawn' where there are no eggs being laid. In other words, the locale has to have been visited by adult forms. Naturally. The ones in this story have drifted in from a nearby area, en masse. They have not swum in, of course, they have been drawn in by currents. This shows that the species is spawning far more North than usual, due to warmer temperatures.

I dunno how anyone can blame this on the company, when for the last ten years the governments of the West have been studiously ignoring and denying the threat of global warming.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 10:31 AM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Henry C., while I appreciate your logic and reasoning, I can't help but point out that you've conveniently left out that jellyfish have an agenda. This was not some consequence of global warming, but due entirely to the fact that jellyfish hate our salmon. They hate our freedom to eat said salmon, and so they staged an insurrection against that poor, patriotic, noble hatchery full of our pink, delicious friends.

The fact that more such attacks will take place in the future will be further proof that I'm right.

The sooner we start bombing the jellyfish wherever they are found, the better the world will be.
posted by baphomet at 10:44 AM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think you're both wrong. Jellyfish don't hate our salmon, they hate us. Jellyfish are vile, manipulative creatures who are taking advantage of global warming to spread the Jellyfish Agenda. It involves dying and mucking up our beaches, ruining ocean swims, stinging us, and being gross. Look at them, floating there, like they haven't a care in the world, they didn't mean to get in your way, they're just chilling out . . . It's a lie! They know exactly where they're going, they know exactly where the humans will be, and they place themselves directly in our paths on purpose because they are evil, evil creatures spawned directly from the mouth of Hell!

When I walk instead of taking a car, when I turn off my lights to save energy, when I compost and eat local, it's not for migrating birds or fish stocks or irregular weather patterns, it's to stop the jellyfish, those goddamned jellyfish GODDAMMIT FUCKING JELLYFISH I HATE YOU SO MUCH!
posted by schroedinger at 11:01 AM on November 23, 2007 [3 favorites]


(my condolences to telstar for also having read that book)
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:21 AM on November 23, 2007


I’m still searching for the ants invasion.
posted by Meatbomb at 11:25 AM on November 23, 2007


flapjax at midnite : Now you're talking a good disaster-flick scenario!

Hell yeah, I can see the trailer: A couple of kids sitting in a convertible on a warm summer night, the radio is playing and they are looking out over the city lights. The radio switches over to a news cast commenting on the destructive force of the storms a few hundred miles away.

There is a soft patter of something hitting the ground, boy leans out of the car and looks at the dark ground, more noises follow, boy and girl start looking around more urgently trying to find the source of the noise.

Suddenly a jellyfish slams into the windshield. Another hits the girl and we see it's tentacles leaving livid welts across her face and neck, she screams and the boy starts the car trying to make a run for it. The camera pulls back to reveal jellyfish falling from the sky like a torrential rain fall.

A sinister voice intones: In a world where people thought they were safe because they didn't live on the coast, get ready to know the new face of fear: Tornado-Jelly-Armageddon. Coming this summer to theaters near you.
posted by quin at 12:56 PM on November 23, 2007 [3 favorites]


Henry C. Mabuse wants the jellyfish to win.
posted by brundlefly at 1:19 PM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


This was (kinda, sorta) addressed in Tierney Thys' excellent address at TED in 2003, about the giant ocean sunfish, which eat jellyfish.

Jellyfish are really low-energy animals. A consequence of us both strip-mining the oceans and global warming is that the ocean is slowly becoming dominated by organisms that are lower on the food chain and less energy-intensive. Mora mora's (the sunfish) survive because they are huge and eat a LOT of jellyfish - the same diet, for you or I, would be only slightly better than consuming celery exclusively.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 1:31 PM on November 23, 2007


I like it when I see that I, personally, am being "part of the solution, not part of the problem". For breakfast today, I had a bagel with... not lox, but jelly. By the way, I blame Smuckers. With a name like Smuckers, it better be up to something...
posted by wendell at 2:35 PM on November 23, 2007


That was perfect, quin. So... when you moving to Hollywood, bro?

And wendell, I think you're onto something there: Smuckers' parent corporation slowly begins systematic clandestine efforts to reduce sea turtle population (through one of their fishing subsidiaries), thus insuring a dramatically increased jellyfish population, which devastates salmon farms worldwide. Faced with little to no lox for their bagels, consumers turn to jelly. Smuckers jelly. And all thanks to those little brainless jellyfish. Perfect.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:35 PM on November 23, 2007


All this time I thought it was just strawberries in there.
posted by Big_B at 4:57 PM on November 23, 2007


Question: What does jellyfish taste like? Texture? Is it something we westerners are going to adapt to eating easily, or are we all gonna be grossed out once we've managed to thoroughly slaughter the oceans?

Not that it really matters, 'cause the oceans are going to be devoid of most vertebrate lifeforms within our lifetimes.

Humans suck.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:37 PM on November 23, 2007


They're probably salty and slimy and kind of chewy. Sorta like a bowl of snot.
posted by ryanrs at 10:00 PM on November 23, 2007


Yah, and udon noodles and calamari are probably salty and slimy and kind of chewy. Sorta like a bowl of snot.

But they're not.

Now we'll wait until someone who has actual experience eating well-prepared jellies have something useful to share, okay?
posted by five fresh fish at 10:41 PM on November 23, 2007


Fine then. Here are some more serious answers:
  Ask MetaFilter: Worst. Food. Ever.
  Yahoo Answers: Eating Jellyfish?
  Chowhound: Jellyfish are crunchy.

So they're cold, slimy, crunchy, and taste of soy sauce. My earlier answer wasn't too far off.
posted by ryanrs at 2:29 AM on November 24, 2007


I'm with five fresh fish. We'll be eating jellyfish at some point. Already, as slow-growing fish species have been depleted, our gourmet delicacies are ones that used to be considered "trash fish." Might as well get started.
posted by salvia at 12:43 PM on November 24, 2007


Henry, you're right, jellyfish can swim and global warming may be necessary for this kind of massive spawning but I think the real culprit here is over intensive farming. Why?

- Jellyfish can swim, but it's very hard to imagine that all those squajillions somehow migrated into a 10 sq mi area. those spawnwd on that coast, hence the "bloom" comment. Sure some adults had to drift into that area to produce the young, but it would only take a few.

- Global warming is probably necessary for this kind of massive spawn to occur, especially for species native to the Mediterranian (I missed that, thanks for pointing it out), but it's not sufficent. This happend on a very small section of the Irish coast, not the whole coast. Warming alone wasn't enough for this to happen.

- This isn't the first time this has happened. NA salmon farms cause similar problems. There have been large increases in the jellyfish populations on the PNW and BC coasts as well.
posted by bonehead at 1:16 PM on November 24, 2007


1. Ten square miles of jellyfish.

2. New Iron Chef show: "Battle Jellyfish".

3. Profit!
posted by darkstar at 10:40 PM on November 24, 2007


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