Giant jellyfish (Echizen kurage) caused 101,540 cases of damage to fisheries between September and December 2005, including reduced catches and increased labor, according to research conducted by the Fisheries Agency. The results of the research were announced January 19 at a strategy meeting attended by officials from prefectural and city governments.

The research was conducted by local governments over the four month period. Cases of reported damage were broken down as follows: increased labor/time -- 34%, reduced catches -- 23%, reduced seafood prices due to lower quality and freshness -- 22%, interruption/suspension of fishing operations -- 4%, and physical damage such as torn nets -- 4%. Damage to trawl nets and fixed nets was significant for some types of fishing. October saw the most damage, with 37,087 cases reported.

The number of cases was determined based on each type of case that occurred per fishing vessel per day. Actual financial damages are difficult to calculate, so they remain unknown.

Fiscal year 2005 has seen the largest numbers of giant jellyfish in recent history, and the increased numbers have affected fishing in the Japan Sea, as well as in the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Okhostk. The overall numbers are now declining, but the jellyfish are still showing up in large areas of the Japan Sea and on the Sanriku Coast, where they are expected to be seen through February.

Giant jellyfish
Photo via National Geographic

[Source: Mainichi Shimbun]