Total jelly domination - “like cockroaches”
January 13, 2011 8:57 AM   Subscribe

"The world’s oceans have been experiencing enormous blooms of jellyfish, apparently caused by overfishing, declining water quality, and rising sea temperatures. Now, scientists are trying to determine if these outbreaks could represent a “new normal” in which jellyfish increasingly supplant fish.. Total jelly domination would be like turning back the clock to the Precambrian world, more than 550 million years ago."
posted by stbalbach (69 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ewwww. And ouch!
posted by kozad at 9:00 AM on January 13, 2011


Everybody panic!
posted by dobie at 9:02 AM on January 13, 2011


Total jelly domination...

This sounds like how I used to make sandwiches.
posted by DU at 9:07 AM on January 13, 2011 [14 favorites]


TOTAL

JELLY

DOMINATION
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:07 AM on January 13, 2011 [14 favorites]


The second order effects could be more interesting.

Which jellyfish predator population will start increase and will that be even a worse problem?
posted by KaizenSoze at 9:08 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sure. If you give a jellyfish a cookie...
posted by shakespeherian at 9:09 AM on January 13, 2011


On a brighter note*, I hear squid are doing really well due to the over-fishing of their predators.

*because they are delicious
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:09 AM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Only until GMO fish stocks retake the oceans.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:13 AM on January 13, 2011


This is going to make Karl Pilkington very cross.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:13 AM on January 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


I saw a TV programme about this. It spent 50 minutes terrifying me about how jellyfish are conquering the ocean and destroying Japanese fishing, then in the last 10 minutes, blithely explained how the Chinese are tackling this problem head-on by eating the damn things.
posted by ukdanae at 9:14 AM on January 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


Don't sea turtles eat jellyfish? I'd be okay with more of those. Hard to write a plausible dystopian sci-fi story where we're enslaved by big leathery turtles.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:15 AM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


On a brighter note*, I hear squid are doing really well due to the over-fishing of their predators.

*because they are delicious


There is some kind of weird disconnect expressed here.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:15 AM on January 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


How does jellyfish taste?
posted by empath at 9:17 AM on January 13, 2011


I will call them Squishy.
posted by Kabanos at 9:19 AM on January 13, 2011 [9 favorites]


Jellyfish heaven is a lot like LA
posted by Flashman at 9:19 AM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Jellyfish is ... hmm, it doesn't have a lot of taste. I've had Jellyfish salad, and it's actually pretty good, though part of that is that I like sesame oil and chili sauce. The texture's probably odd for people who aren't used to it: kind of crunchy, kind of squishy.
posted by Comrade_robot at 9:21 AM on January 13, 2011


> How does jellyfish taste?

Much worse than Soylent Green.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:24 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm told it's sort of bland and salty but it has the most fascinating texture.

There is this weird correspondence between stoner food and oldschool Chinese banquet food. I'm not really sure what's up with that.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:24 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


On the Mediterranean island where I live, we've been dealing with this for a few years now. Sometimes we get a purple tide of the little bastards that wash up on the beaches and make it impossible to even think about swimming. I've been stung once, and it hurts like hell. Almost no one gets stung twice, because after the first time you become extra-careful.

Last summer wasn't as bad as previous years. People are debating whether it's because we had a rainy spring that gave us a freshwater barrier around the coast, or whether the increasing restrictions on tuna fishing are restoring the population of one of the jellyfish's main predators. Every time you eat tuna sushi, you're contributing to the jellyfish problem.

I've never heard of anyone eating them, but we do eat deep fried sea anemones, which kind of have the same texture. They're gooey and taste more like sea water than anything else. My theory is that someone needs to invent a beauty treatment made from jellyfish, something like an urticarial peeling. Good for the fishermen, good for the tourists, everyone wins!
posted by fuzz at 9:24 AM on January 13, 2011


I think this was the programme i saw, titled, Monster Jellyfish Attack. Seriously. It's about the Nomura jellyfish in particular.
posted by ukdanae at 9:25 AM on January 13, 2011


I for one welcome our new cnidarian overlords.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:27 AM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


The texture's probably odd for people who aren't used to it: kind of crunchy, kind of squishy.

This is how I make pancakes.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:27 AM on January 13, 2011


Don't sea turtles eat jellyfish? I'd be okay with more of those. Hard to write a plausible dystopian sci-fi story where we're enslaved by big leathery turtles.
Oh?
posted by Thorzdad at 9:32 AM on January 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


BLOOMS!
posted by clavdivs at 9:34 AM on January 13, 2011


I am not ready for this jelly.
posted by emjaybee at 9:36 AM on January 13, 2011 [11 favorites]


McDonalds has yet to introduce the the Filet O' Jellyfish to the menu.
posted by mathowie at 9:37 AM on January 13, 2011


Taste? Ha. I ate quite a bit of jellyfish in Hong Kong, prepared in any number of ways. Regardless of the spices, method of cooking, or boisterous encouragement from dining companions, it inevitably tasted like a wet balloon filled with Vaseline.
posted by milquetoast at 9:41 AM on January 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm told it's sort of bland and salty but it has the most fascinating texture.

So jellyfish are made out of tofu?
posted by JaredSeth at 9:42 AM on January 13, 2011


Oh, Gamera's fine. That way when all the birds have fallen out of the sky and the swarms of giant leathery bat-pterodactyl-things take over and try to kill us all, we'll have someone on our side.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:42 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


How does jellyfish taste?

Gross! It's bland, that much is true, but the texture is not appealing at all...it's like a cross between gristle and an overly firm gelatin, like those yucky bits of jell-o at the side of the dish that didn't get mixed up enough.
posted by Hoopo at 9:47 AM on January 13, 2011


Gross! It's bland, that much is true, but the texture is not appealing at all...it's like a cross between gristle and an overly firm gelatin, like those yucky bits of jell-o at the side of the dish that didn't get mixed up enough.

So it's like a big-mac?

*RIMSHOT*
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:50 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't sea turtles eat jellyfish? I'd be okay with more of those. Hard to write a plausible dystopian sci-fi story where we're enslaved by big leathery turtles.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:15 AM


Omha Abides
posted by jamjam at 10:02 AM on January 13, 2011


On the Mediterranean island where I live

I hate you. Nothing personal, mind, just in general.
(goes back to stomping through frozen muck).
posted by aramaic at 10:03 AM on January 13, 2011 [5 favorites]




This is going to make Karl Pilkington very cross


one thing that makes him angry is that jellyfish are like 99% water. i wonder if they have a lot less nutrients than fish. And thus begins the seaapocalypse
posted by angrycat at 10:03 AM on January 13, 2011


nebulawindphone : Hard to write a plausible dystopian sci-fi story where we're enslaved by big leathery turtles.

Clearly you never read the classic series Grown-Up Mutant Jackbooted Turtles. Once you get passed the human sacrifices to the Chelonia gods, the bits where they force humans into carapaces to hide our gender traits, and the savage and constant beatings and degradation, it's a remarkably kid friendly read.
posted by quin at 10:03 AM on January 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


Detrimental effects of jellyfish blooms, per Wikipedia:
Jellyfish blooms cause problems for mankind. The most obvious are human stings (sometimes deadly) and tourism declines on coasts. Other severe implications are destroying fish nets, poisoning or crushing captured fish, consuming fish eggs and young fish.

Clogging also causes many problems including stoppage of nuclear power plants and desalination plants, as well as clogging engines of ships and even overturning of boats by one of the largest species, the Nomura's jellyfish.
I'm afraid that jellyfish, especially the frightening Nomura's jellyfish, are simply setting the stage for Giant Monster Attacks, possibly From The Deep. Seriously, the Nomura's jellyfish grows 2 meters (6 feet 7 inches) in diameter and weighing up to 220 kg (about 450 pounds). They live principally in the waters between China and Japan. These are no casual sea creatures of unusual proportions. They are Godzilla's Henchbeasts. And clogging nuclear power plants will only hasten the arrival of Godzilla.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:05 AM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


In recent years, populations of several jellyfish species have made inroads ... in a number of regions, including ... the Gulf of Mexico

So, my uncle had a sailboat in San Felipe. He made friends with the local commercial fisherman, who at the time were barely scraping by with a shrimp harvest.

One day, he and his wife are invited to a feast. Turns out one of the boats caught something special. Big-ass feast, with the centerpiece of the meal being a giant fish steak for each person. Yummy, yummy.

The fish? Totuava.

The idiots were eating an incredibly endangered fish. In fact, the city had largely been created as a totuava fishery, for the fish's swim bladder, valuable as a delicacy. And that fishery had already collapsed in the 1930s. Mexico even banned fishing for totuava in the 70s.

"It was hard to explain," my uncle said. "It was like they were eating panda bear. And were incredibly happy about it."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:05 AM on January 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


those yucky bits of jell-o at the side of the dish

that's my favorite part of jello!
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 10:14 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jellyfish are awesome, but they also suck. Back in the early 80s, there was a sudden huge Cassiopea bloom off the coast of South Florida. It was so bad that there were beach warnings running from the Keys all the way to Palm Beach. We would go swimming anyway, of course. The stings were mild enough that getting them on your skin wasn't enough of a deterrent to keep from swimming (unless you were extra sensitive to them). The secret was to tie off the legs of your swimsuits to keep the stinger cells out of your pants. And to wear goggles. And NEVER open your mouth. Cassiopea stinger mucus in the mouth lesds to much sadness.

Of course, these blooms would result in tons of dead jellies on the beach, which would lead to horribly disgusting jelly-flinging battles. You haven't lived until you've had a dead jellyfish go splorch on your face at 40mph.

The only thing worse than a jellyfish is a jellyfish stuffed in your pants. In dive camp, it was big fun for kids to stuff Cassiopea jellyfish into the pants of other unsuspecting kids. Do you have any idea what it's like to awaken from deep and dreamy slumber to genitals covered with stingy jelly mucus? It's like fire. And gods forbid it gets in your butt. *shudder*
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 10:22 AM on January 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Nomura's jellyfish problem in the Sea of Japan isn't well-explained in the article. Rising water temperatures in the Sea of Japan are partly to blame (Japan's northern coastline - facing Korea and Russia - has experienced some of the highest seawater warming rates in the world), but so is agricultural runoff in the Yellow River delta. Jellyfish larva typically mature as they follow the current the flows from southwest to northeast along the Japan Sea Coast of Japan, and they benefit from the manmade nutrients in the Yellow Sea. Cutting out the flow of fertilizers etc into the seas would help a lot.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:27 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Back in the early 80s, there was a sudden huge Cassiopea bloom off the coast of South Florida...Of course, these blooms would result in tons of dead jellies on the beach,

Ha! I had almost forgotten about this--I took a trip to Orlando in the 80s with my family and there were all these round, clear globs of jelly on the beach in the mornings. I had no idea what they were, until I went swimming and got stung.
posted by Hoopo at 10:30 AM on January 13, 2011


"Kids, back in my day we had actual fish instead of compressed imitation fish meat made from jellyfish"
posted by wcfields at 10:38 AM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


> there were all these round, clear globs of jelly on the beach in the mornings.

Growing up near the Gulf of Mexico, I can tell you that it wasn't a proper day at the beach unless you could poke a dead jellyfish with a stick.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:38 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


On the Mediterranean island where I live, we've been dealing with this for a few years now.

Ugh, srsly. I remember back in 2003-2004ish, I started seeing endless swarms of those little purple fuckers all over the Baleares. Swimming anywhere was like being swarmed really slowly by incredibly lazy bees.
posted by elizardbits at 10:39 AM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


*weeps for the fishies*
posted by benzenedream at 10:41 AM on January 13, 2011


On the Mediterranean island where I live, we've been dealing with this for a few years now.

In my mansion fortress on the moon, I haven't had to deal with this problem at all.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:42 AM on January 13, 2011 [17 favorites]


I like the texture of jellyfish. It's kind of like tripe but crunchier.
posted by emeiji at 10:46 AM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


when life gives you jellyfish, make jelly, says jelly roll morton, the old jazz man
(it must be jelly cause jam don't shake like this)
posted by Postroad at 10:48 AM on January 13, 2011


I like the texture of jellyfish. It's kind of like tripe but crunchier.

Eww, tripe! That's like soggy jellyfish!
posted by Hoopo at 10:49 AM on January 13, 2011


There are two kinds of people in the world — the ones who eat the gristle off the end of their chicken leg, and the ones who get all EW HOW CAN YOU DO THAT?

Keep it up, second kind of people. We like the attention.
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:53 AM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


> There are two kinds of people in the world — the ones who eat the gristle off the end of their chicken leg, and the ones who get all EW HOW CAN YOU DO THAT?

I still can't get over the sound of someone crunching drumstick knee.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:59 AM on January 13, 2011


I still can't get over the sound of someone crunching drumstick knee

My mom gnaws off the gristle and then crunches the bones to get at the marrow. When she's done, there's just a plate full of bone shards. She's like a creepy ogre who happens to be my mom.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 11:10 AM on January 13, 2011 [25 favorites]


That's the second biggest smack I've ever seen!
posted by the painkiller at 11:13 AM on January 13, 2011


I think the only thing that makes jellyfish noticeably salty is the soy sauce it's served with.

One thing's for sure, though - it tastes nothing like chicken, not even like chicken cartilage.
posted by milkfish at 11:38 AM on January 13, 2011


I love Vietnamese-style jelly-fish salad! So good...
posted by Hairy Lobster at 11:38 AM on January 13, 2011


Every time you eat tuna sushi, you're contributing to the jellyfish problem.

Hope y'all like jellyfish. 'Cause I really like tuna.
posted by Justinian at 11:46 AM on January 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Takin' on the jellies. Humans have got serious thrill issues.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:11 PM on January 13, 2011


It's not Nomura's jellyfish, it's "Japanese Sea Trout" and it's very expensive and trendy. Or it's the Colonel's New Spicy Coastal Chicken and if you can eat a whole 450 lb. bucket in one sitting you get it free.

See, I've got the high end and low end markets covered in one swell foop!
posted by freecellwizard at 12:40 PM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jellyfish-nine.
posted by antihostile at 12:45 PM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hard to write a plausible dystopian sci-fi story where we're enslaved by big leathery turtles.

What, you missed Kevin J. Anderson's Super Mario prequel heptalogy?
posted by No-sword at 2:10 PM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


But will they go well with a peanut butter sandwich?

Enquiring minds want to know!
posted by bwg at 4:37 PM on January 13, 2011


These are no casual sea creatures of unusual proportions.

Dude, they have eyes.

And although I can't at the moment find a reference to this on the net, rumor has it that they can work their way through mazes, and even, over time, learn the path, making their journey faster and easier each time.
posted by lakersfan1222 at 6:09 PM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am specifically referring to box jellies. The ones with eyes. The ones without eyes, well, not sure they can do much of anything...yet.
posted by lakersfan1222 at 6:11 PM on January 13, 2011


^Do you have any idea what it's like to awaken from deep and dreamy slumber to genitals covered with stingy jelly mucus?

So this was the Innsmouth Dive Camp, then, run by the local "Masons"?
posted by gingerest at 6:30 PM on January 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Are all jellyfish species good eating (as opposed to edible)? Lionfish may be entering our restaurant menus, but only if they taste good.

I love jellyfish (seasoned with sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic powder, Chinese cooking wine, fish sauce, and potentially MSG [although this is overkill since if you cooked the jellyfish properly, you'll have released enough of the amino acids into freeform for the flavour]. Chili flakes add a touch of zing, too, or even straight out chili sauce. I prefer the flakes. Sprinkle with freshly pan-roasted sesame seeds just prior to serving. Furikake is an acceptable alternative to doing it the right way. But furikake is the alternative to doing anything the right way.) but different brands/sources are better/less-good. Great jellyfish salad is crunchy but soaks up the flavours well. Crunchy less flavourful jellyfish salad is superior to smushy and even flavourful but smushy jellyfish salad, though.

The preparation makes a pretty big difference; the standard is to soak the fresh jellyfish well, parboil quickly, cool, slice, season, and let marinate in the fridge overnight+. I haven't played around much with jellyfish, but I do know that over and undercooking (even a little bit) spoils the dish. Since my experience is so sparse, I "chopstick squeeze" the jellyfish sheet during the boiling and cold water rinse it once it feels ~15-10% less resistive than I like, which I know from eating jellyfish salads at restaurants. The boiling time is anywhere from a couple of minutes to at most 10 or 15. The, in retrospect, best raw jellyfish takes about 6 to 9 minutes on a low boil. In my (humble) experience.
posted by porpoise at 9:39 PM on January 13, 2011


Dude, they have eyes.

Before I clicked the link as saw the picture, I imagined a jellyfish, washed up on a beach, slowly dying, with two fully-formed human eyes slowly blinking back at me. I have totally creeped myself out.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:40 AM on January 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


oh, hello, EndsOfInvention...
posted by lakersfan1222 at 9:17 AM on January 14, 2011


Box jellies are an alien species. They are not jellyfish. They have an anus at the end of every tentacle. Lettuce spray that they are not included in the "bloom".
posted by Goofyy at 4:43 AM on January 15, 2011


from wikipedia: "...box jellyfish are unique in the possession of true eyes, complete with retinas, corneas and lenses. Their eyes are located on each of the four sides of their bell in clusters. These enable them to see specific points of light, as opposed to simply distinguishing between light and the dark. Box jellies also retain the lesser type of eye, because the strong eyes are only one of four subsets."

What??? This is incredible... 'Box Jelly: Total Immersion' the headmount video-MMORPG cannot get here soon enough.
posted by artof.mulata at 5:56 PM on January 15, 2011


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