Global Jellyfish Onslaught

24,000 Tons of Jellyfish vs. Japanese Power Plants: It’s A Tie!

24,000 Jellyfish swarm Ise Japan Power Plants

“The effect of the jellyfish isn’t fully known yet”

In 2011 jellyfish swarms closed down four nuclear plants in widely separated parts of the globe. In July of 2011, an estimated 24,000 tons of jellyfish swarmed the company’s 9 power plants located on Ise Bay, Japan. The number is double the normal amount, with the jelly belly swarming beginning a  month early this year. These thermal plants are critical to the company’s ability to handle power demands, as Japanese nuclear plants have been shut down in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in 2011. Three of the plants have suffered multi-day shutdowns. Jellyfish also shut down nukes in Israel, Scotland and Florida. In 2012, the Diablo Canyon nuclear station in California, was completely closed after a swarm of salp clogging filters that are intended to keep out marine life and make sure the station runs cool.

Elsewhere, jellyfish are ruining summer swimming at famous beaches around the world and disrupting fishing to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars in Japan alone. Most scientists blame global warming, except for the ones who don’t “believe” in it.

Now what if global warming were real AND major marine predators (turtles, tuna and swordfish) were massively overfished? Then we would expect the numbers of jellyfish to explode, especially in coastal waters. And that is precisely what is happening as beaches around the world are inundated by increasingly large blooms of jellyfish. This summer, beaches along Spain’s Costa Del Sol are being closed as literally thousands of bathers have been stung by a record jellyfish swarm. Scientists are reporting an unusually large incursion of mauve stingers – the small purplish bell shaped creatures that deliver painful stings through hairlike tentacles that can reach three metres in length. The Pelagia noctilucas also hit Elche’s white sand beaches, stinging close to 400 bathers.

Globally jellyfish are migrating t to places they have never previously visited as ocean waters warm. This summer, the density of blue button jellyfish (Porpita porpita) around the Mediterranean island of Malta has reached another new high according to the International Ocean Institute of the University of Malta. This small but lovely species is found hanging onto and possibly attempting to eat the tentacles of the larger and more visible mauve stinger (Pelagia noctiluca) jelly. The blue button is considered tropical and had never been seen in the Mediterranean prior to 2010.We don’t know why the Universal Jellyfish Mind* changed its strategy, but in 2011 jellyfish swarms closed down four nuclear plants in widely separated parts of the globe.

And finally, if marine climates changed sufficiently to allow certain species to live through the winter and continue to grow through multiple years, we would expect to see larger and larger jellyfish. That is what is happening off the coast of Japan.

* We can’t say anything more about the UJM and we’ve probably said too much already.

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