December 13, 2008

Jellyfish Taking Over Tourist Spots

Researchers reported on Friday that huge swarms of stinging jellyfish and similar slimy animals are ruining beaches in Hawaii, the Gulf of Mexico, the Mediterranean, Australia and elsewhere.

According to the report, 150 million people are exposed to jellyfish globally each year, with 500,000 people getting stung in the Chesapeake Bay, off the U.S. Atlantic Coast, alone.

There is another 200,000 getting stung every year in Florida, and 10,000 are stung in Australia by the deadly Portuguese man-of-war, according to the report.

The report also says that the Black Sea's fishing and tourism industries have fallen by $350 million because of the proliferation of comb jelly fish.

Over 1,000 fat-sized comb jellies can be found in a cub yard of Black Sea water during a bloom.

Jelly fish eat the eggs of fish and compete with them for food, wiping out the livelihoods of fishermen.

A third of the total weight in life in California's Monterey Bay is jellyfish.

Some causes for the jellyfish population spike is because of human activities including pollution, climate change, introductions of non-native species, overfishing and building artificial structures such as oil and gas rigs.

Creatures called salps take up 38,600 miles of the North Atlantic in a regular phenomenon called the New York Bight, but researchers say this one is a regular natural cycle.

"There is clear, clean evidence that certain types of human-caused environmental stresses are triggering jellyfish swarms in some locations," William Hamner of the University of California Los Angeles says in the report.


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