Friday, December 28, 2007

The Jellyfish Revenge

There are a lot of things very, very bad about global warming: sea levels getting higher, land getting submerged, glaciers melting, weird things happening with the weather. But something that really stings is also being caused: an increase in jellyfish.
Now with all due respect to those in the Orient who like to eat jellyfish, I don’t like them at all—to eat (I can’t imagine that) or to swim around.
“Why jellies love global warming,” was the title of a recent article in the British magazine, New Scientist—and it wasn’t talking about blueberry jelly.
It told of how warmer water caused by global warming has been producing an increase in jellyfish, indeed the development of huge swarms of them. It reported on one swarm of these creatures, 20 square miles in area, moving in the Irish Sea and hitting a salmon farm—“killing all 100,000 fish in it,” said the New Scientist.
Also, the increase in jellyfish is also being produced by the increased levels of carbon dioxide being released on the planet causing seawater to become more acidic and harming “small creatures with acid-soluble shells that compete with jellyfish.”
Another causal factor—and another huge folly by man—is overfishing
Removing marine vertebrates that eat jellyfish, said the New Scientist.
The magazine spoke of “a vicious cycle.” It related: “Overfishing means we need more fish farms and it also boosts populations of jellyfish which damage fish farms. As the growing human population needs more food, that exacerbates warming, and…jellyfish prosper. The final irony: small plankton-eating fish, which compete most directly with jellyfish” are especially being “overfished—largely to make fishmeal, the main food for fish farms.”
What a mess.
The Kyoto Accord has been developed to combat global warming—with the U.S. leading a challenge to it. Then there’s overfishing, the myopic practice of many nations.
A bottom line: the jellyfish revenge. Clear reason for changes in course.

No comments: