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Wednesday, 10th June 2009
In General Japan News,

Giant jellyfish swarm off Japanese coast

Swarms of jellyfish the size of sumo wrestlers are amassing in the waters around Japan.

The colossal Nomura jellyfish, which can weigh up to 200kg and span two metres in diameter, are wreaking havoc on the Japanese fishing industry by tearing through nets and eating fish eggs and larvae.

According to the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution, it may in fact be overfishing that has caused the upturn in jellyfish numbers, as fish typically keep jellyfish populations in check via predation and competition for the food sources such as zooplankton.

However, it is not only Japan that may soon be overwhelmed by the marine creatures, with jellyfish populations in south-east Asia, the Black Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and the North Sea also on the rise.

Dr Anthony Richardson of the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation's Marine and Atmospheric Research said: "We need to take management action to avert the marine systems of the world flipping over to being jellyfish dominated."

Last month, Japanese scientists were able to put jellyfish genes to productive use to create fluorescent marmosets for scientific research purposes.

Written by Mark Smith