Giant Jellyfish invade Sea of Japan

Giant Jellyfish are beginning to show up in coastal areas in the Sea of Japan for the third year since 2005 and fishermen are preparing for their arrival.

The huge Nomura’s jellyfish, one of over 200 different species found worldwide, can grow up to 6 feet (1.83 meters) in diameter and weigh more than 450 pounds (204 kilos) each. Currents in the area have been moving the creatures into coastal waters off Japan in recent years, causing concern for fishermen in the area.

Japanese fishermen use nets that sometimes stretch hundreds of kilometers along the coast. The nets are so expensive that they are owned by several members of a community and when the nets are damaged by the jellyfish, it can have a devestating financial impact on the local economy.

Scientists are at a loss as to why the creatures are showing up in the Sea of Japan. Some believe that it’s a result of the oceans warming in recent years and others think it may be a lack of the type of fish in the area that used to eat the jellyfish in their polyp stage.

At any rate, Japan has come up with an early warning system that notifies fishermen when the jellyfish appear. Fishermen are alerted so they can pull their fishing gear out of the water to avoid damage.