Tag: ‘Jellyfish’

Chefs prepare for annual giant jellyfish invasion

31 Aug 2006

Each year, in an annual rite of autumn, giant jellyfish (echizen kurage) invade the seas around Japan, damaging nets, interrupting fishing operations and reducing the overall quality and quantity of catches. This year the residents of Fukui prefecture have a new strategy to combat the giant jellyfish -- they plan to eat them.

Giant jellyfish and makeshift menu
(On the menu: jellyfish soup, jellyfish yogurt and jellyfish sashimi)

As part of this new strategy, jellyfish cooking classes were held at the Culinary Culture Center in the city of Obama on August 28. The classes attracted about 20 interested people from the local fishing cooperatives and hotel owners association.

Toshiko Komatsu (58), a member of the Oshima fishing cooperative women's group, presented recipes that call for raw jellyfish. "Jellyfish consist mostly of water," she says, "so they are not fit to be steamed or grilled." Her dishes feature bits of last year's giant jellyfish catch that have been preserved in salt, served Chinese-style with cucumber and vinegar soy sauce or served with plum sauce.

Michiko Kamisako (67), who fishes for a living in Oshima, provided some basic advice on jellyfish preparation. "Big jellyfish can be eaten if you slice them into tiny pieces," she explains while squeezing strips of finely sliced jellyfish.

Beginning August 19, reports of giant jellyfish trapped in fixed nets began coming in to the Takasu Fishery Harbor in Fukui city. On busy days, up to 100 jellyfish can become trapped in each net. Most encounters with jellyfish ranging from 50 to 100 cm in diameter are occurring along the northern Fukui coast.

Echizen kurage, also known as Nomura's jellyfish, can grow up to 2 meters wide and weigh up to 200 kilograms (450 lbs) each. That's a lot of sushi.

[Source: Chunichi Shimbun]

Giant jellyfish wreak havoc on Japanese fishing

20 Jan 2006

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]