Giant jellyfish descend on the Sea of Japan, causing untold devastation to coastal villages and leaving a trail of destruction and human misery behind.
Sounds like a great sci-fi flick. But it’s not. It’s real and it’s a nightmare for Japanese fishermen.
The massive sea creatures, called Nomura’s jellyfish, can grow 6 feet in diameter and weigh more than 450 pounds. Scientists think they originate in the Yellow Sea and in Chinese waters. For the third year since 2005, ocean currents are transporting them into the Sea of Japan.
Monty Williams, a marine biologist at Alabama’s Dauphin Island Sea Lab, said the jellyfish grow to an enormous size as they are transported by ocean currents. He said they stay together in packs and as they drift northward, they get caught in fishermen’s nets…
The jellyfish destroy fishermen’s nets, getting trapped in them, tearing holes and ruining catches.
Fishermen often use expensive mazelike nets that stretch for hundreds of kilometers. When swarms of giant jellyfish tear them, the result is devastating. “Communities of fishermen and these fishing villages own these nets,” Williams said. “When these nets get wiped out, it actually has this economic devastation for an entire community.”
I know it doesn’t feel like anything termed “short-term phenomenon” to the fishermen. But, in terms of oceanography, unless someone knows of radical changes taking place in the region, that’s exactly what’s described. That’s why I never would be a farmer, regardless of how many times my agricultural kin offer that avenue. And a decade or so of subsistence fishing as a youth was sufficient, thank you.
Surely, there must be a lame and leftover Cold Warrior in Japan’s Parliament who can blame China – or Greenpeace – for this? I probably could find a dozen or so in Congress.