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Studying jellyfish fisheries: toward accurate national catch reports and appropriate methods for stock assessments


Abstract and Figures

People have been catching and eating jellyfish for centuries, predominantly in Asia. More recently, jellyfish fisheries have expanded around the globe, primarily for export to China and Japan. However, catch data for jellyfish remain scant. Many countries fishing for jellyfish do not explicitly report their catches to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and reported data are often problematic. Here, we estimate historic and current catches of jellyfish from 1950 to the present. We review past trends in global catch data for jellyfish and speculate on future catch potential. Research and management of jellyfish fisheries is inadequate, especially given the current rates of expansion and the unique challenges presented by jellyfish populations. Historically, jellyfish have been understudied, resulting in the current dearth of knowledge on jellyfish population dynamics and jellyfish fishery management. We discuss how jellyfish can be studied using straightforward adaptations of standard methods for size-based analysis of fish populations, and encourage researchers to rapidly scale up the study of these increasingly important animals.
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In: Jellyfish ISBN: 978-1-63485-688-1
Editor: Gian Luigi Mariottini © 2017 Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
Chapter 15
Lucas Brotz* and Daniel Pauly
Sea Around Us, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries,
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
People have been catching and eating jellyfish for centuries, predominantly in Asia.
More recently, jellyfish fisheries have expanded around the globe, primarily for export to
China and Japan. However, catch data for jellyfish remain scant. Many countries fishing
for jellyfish do not explicitly report their catches to the Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and reported data are often problematic. Here,
we estimate historic and current catches of jellyfish from 1950 to the present. We review
past trends in global catch data for jellyfish and speculate on future catch potential.
Research and management of jellyfish fisheries is inadequate, especially given the current
rates of expansion and the unique challenges presented by jellyfish populations.
Historically, jellyfish have been understudied, resulting in the current dearth of
knowledge on jellyfish population dynamics and jellyfish fishery management. We
discuss how jellyfish can be studied using straightforward adaptations of standard
methods for size-based analysis of fish populations, and encourage researchers to rapidly
scale up the study of these increasingly important animals.
Keywords: jellies, jellyfish fishery, scyphomedusae, Scyphozoa, zooplankton fisheries,
growth, mortality, length-frequency data
* Sea Around Us, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, 2202 Main Mall, University of British Columbia,
Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4, Canada. Email:
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Lucas Brotz and Daniel Pauly
Jellyfish populations are increasing in numerous coastal regions of the globe [1], often
causing severe economic losses for industries such as tourism, fisheries, power generation,
and aquaculture [2]. As these problems are likely to increase [3], it has been suggested that
finding new uses for jellyfish as food and medicine could help to control jellyfish
populations, especially with regard to nuisance species [2, 4, 5]. While such a strategy as a
means to an end is flawed [6], the proliferation of jellyfish in some areas is already leading to
new fisheries and increased investigations of the use of jellyfish for nutrition, medicines, and
other applications (Table 1). Jellyfish have also been central to a number of breakthroughs in
fields such as biotechnology and biomedicine [e.g., 7, 8], as well as design engineering [9-
11]; however, these applications do not require large amounts of jellyfish, unlike some of the
possible uses listed in Table 1.
The idea of consuming jellyfish as food is relatively new in the Western Hemisphere, and
is often met with reactions ranging from surprise to disgust. However, eating jellyfish is
anything but novel, as people have been doing it for centuries. Consumption of jellyfish dates
back to at least 1,700 years ago [12]. Today, China continues to be the dominant producer and
consumer of jellyfish, representing approximately 60% of contemporary global capture
production [13], as well as the importation of jellyfish from many other countries. Indeed,
jellyfish are such a popular food item in China that many imitation products are now being
sold there that contain no actual jellyfish, but are artificially made using brown algae [14].
China is also the only country in the world to produce jellyfish through aquaculture using
large saltwater ponds, as well as employing hatchery programs whereby hundreds of millions
of juvenile jellyfish are cultured and released annually with the hopes of supplementing wild
stocks [14], a strategy that has only had partial success (see below).
Table 1. Examples of uses for jellyfish other than as food for humans
Sample reference(s)
Livestock feeds
[15, 16]
[25, 26]
Finfish and shellfish feeds
[32, 33]
Environmental monitoring
Pollution detection
[34, 35]
Materials science
Absorbent polymers
[41, 42]
Cement additive
Nanoparticle filters
Antihypertensive peptides
[44, 45]
[47, 48]
Bioactive compounds
[71, 72]
Studying Jellyfish Fisheries
Jellyfish populations are often subject to large interannual fluctuations in abundance. In
fact, changes in biomass of edible jellyfish are probably larger than for any other fishery [73].
Jellyfish are most often caught from small boats using dip-nets. However, a wide variety of
active and passive fishing gears are used in different areas of the world. At least 30 different
species of jellyfish have been identified as “edible” [13]; however, species that are primarily
targeted for food belong to the paraphyletic Order Rhizostomeae. Jellyfish belonging to this
group are typically less fragile than other jellies and will produce the desired crunchy texture
that is characteristic of edible jellyfish after processing. With the exception of Mexico, the
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reports all jellyfish catches
as “Rhopilema spp,” which is incorrect in many cases. Combined with the fact that the
taxonomy of edible jellyfish is considerably confused [38], this makes it difficult to determine
exactly which jellyfish are being caught and eaten.
Although some may be eaten fresh in coastal areas [14], jellyfish are most often
processed in a stepwise salting procedure that takes weeks. The process may vary somewhat,
but typically involves soaking jellyfish in a variety of different mixtures of salt and alum
(usually potassium aluminum sulfate) in order to partially dehydrate the jellyfish,
decontaminate them, and produce the desired crunchy and crispy texture. Semi-dried (i.e.,
processed) jellyfish are then either sold at markets or packaged and shipped. Prior to
consumption, jellyfish are usually soaked in water to remove the salt and alum, and then
sliced, often blanched, and served as appetizer salads or as ingredients in other dishes. Ready-
to-eat jellyfish products are also available as snacks that can be consumed straight from the
Desalted, processed edible jellyfish are typically 92-96% water and 3-7% protein,
primarily collagen. With only 36 kcal per 100 g serving [74], edible jellyfish have been
declared as a natural diet food. There is a long list of purported health benefits from eating
jellyfish according to Traditional Chinese Medicine [14, 75]; however, very few of these have
been tested using scientific criteria. In addition, there are health concerns about the
consumption of jellyfish related to the use of alum during processing, which contains
aluminum, detectable in the final product [76-78]. As such, whether the effects of eating
jellyfish are positive or negative for human health remains unresolved.
At least 23 countries have been involved in jellyfish fisheries (Table 2). Some countries
(e.g., Turkey) appear to have abandoned their jellyfish fisheries, while others (e.g., Canada)
had test fisheries that were unsuccessful. There are 19 nations currently fishing for jellyfish,
with estimated current average landings of at least 900,000 tonnes annually [13]. Despite the
proliferation of jellyfish fisheries, catch data remain scant. Many countries do not explicitly
report their jellyfish catches to FAO, and even reported data are often problematic. As such, a
catch reconstruction of jellyfish landings from 1950 to the present was developed. Methods
were based on those that have been employed for a myriad of fisheries catch reconstructions
[79-81], whereby the following steps are followed:
Lucas Brotz and Daniel Pauly
1. Identification and validation of existing reported catch time series (e.g., FAO
2. Identification of countries and time periods not covered by (1), i.e., missing catch
data, via literature searches and consultations;
3. Search for available alternative information sources to supply the missing catch data
in (2), through extensive literature searches and consultations with local experts;
4. Development of data anchor points in time for missing data items;
5. Interpolation for time periods between data anchor points for total catch;
6. Estimation of final total catch time series estimates for total catch, combining
reported catches (1) and interpolated missing data series (5).
Using this methodology, a global catch reconstruction for jellyfish was developed by
combining the catches of each country (Figure 1). Major findings are discussed below, and
details for all countries in the analysis can be found in [82].
As mentioned, China has the longest history of fishing for edible jellyfish, and is the
world’s largest producer. Estimating China’s catch is a challenge due to inconsistencies in
reporting. For example, FAO reports no catch prior to 1970; however, Dong et al. [83] report
annual landings dating back to 1957 from a variety of sources, including China Fishery
Statistical Yearbooks. The targeted species is Rhopilema esculentum, a conspicuous
rhizostome that fetches the highest price for edible jellyfish. Catch statistics for jellyfish in
China were also reported by Li et al. [84] from 1980 to 2012. For the period 1980-1990, it
appears that landings reported to FAO were for processed jellyfish, rather than wet weight.
As processed R. esculentum weighs only 15% of the original wet weight [84], we can assume
that landings from this period are only 15% of the true value, i.e., underreported more than
sixfold. When we examine Chinese landings from the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, they are of a
similar magnitude to those from the 1980s, and as such, it suggests that reported landings
prior to 1990 are similarly for processed jellyfish. While this is clearly a major assumption
with significant consequences for a catch reconstruction estimate, the current scale of
reported jellyfish landings in China is on the order of several hundred thousand tonnes. That
scale, combined with China’s long history of fishing jellyfish, would seem to justify the
Catches of R. esculentum in China began declining in the 1970s, likely due to
overexploitation [83]. This led to extensive research on the life cycle and culturing of the
species [14], and in 1984, ephyrae were released into Chinese coastal waters with the hopes
of supplementing the wild stock and increasing the catch. For almost 2 decades, the hatchery
program continued to expand and was declared an economic success [14, 85]. However,
recent landings of this species have declined despite increased restocking programs, which
now release hundreds of millions of ephyrae annually. Around the turn of the century, another
rhizostome, the giant jellyfish Nemopilema nomurai, began increasing in abundance in East
Asian waters [86-88]. With declining catches of R. esculentum, jellyfish fishers in China
quickly turned their attention to N. nomurai, with landings on the order of hundreds of
thousands of tonnes in recent years [84]. Curiously, despite these massive catches, catches of
N. nomurai appear to be absent from FAO statistics.
Studying Jellyfish Fisheries
Table 2. Countries that are known to fish for jellyfish
1995 - present
2004 - present
1984; 2002
<1950 - present
2013 - present
2013 - present
1984 - present
<1950 - present
2010? - present
<1950 - present
Korea (South)
1980s? - present
<1950? - present
2000 - present
1995? - present
2008; 2013 - present
2007? - present
1976 - present
2000 - present
Sri Lanka
1986 - present
1970 - present
1984 - 2006
1993 - present
1990s - present
Figure 1. Estimated global jellyfish landings for two primary species in China and all species for other
Lucas Brotz and Daniel Pauly
Other countries such as Indonesia, Japan, and Malaysia also had fisheries for jellyfish by
the middle of the 20th century; however, the scale of these operations was small compared to
China’s. Thailand’s jellyfish fisheries began in the 1960s or 1970s, and have expanded to the
point where Thailand is now the world’s second largest producer. More recently, significant
fisheries for jellyfish have developed in India, Vietnam, and Mexico, resulting in a global
catch that has exceeded 500,000 tonnes since 1997 (Figure 1), ironically the same year when
world jellyfish catches “peaked” according to FAO statistics. FAO also reports (relatively
small) catches from several countries that are not known to have jellyfish fisheries, including
Namibia, the United Kingdom, and the Falkland Islands. We suspect that these reports are for
discarded jellyfish that are caught as bycatch in other fisheries. While such catches should
indeed be reported, they should also be differentiated from targeted landings. Clearly
reporting to and by FAO needs to improve, especially in the case of jellyfish.
To understand and manage jellyfish fisheries, stock assessments are required which, if
only for expediency, ought to draw as much as possible from the existing toolkit of fishery
managers. These conceptual toolkits, and the mathematical models used to implement them,
were mostly derived, however, from the study of bony fishes. This has misled many jellyfish
specialists to assume, a priori, that standard models to describe the growth and mortality of
teleosts would not apply to jellyfish (as is also often, and equally falsely, assumed for squids
[89]). Instead, these specialists have studied jellyfish using a disparate array of concepts and
models, with the result that few generalities have emerged which could help in optimizing the
management of jellyfish fisheries or predicting growth and mortality patterns in unstudied
jellyfish taxa.
The von Bertalanffy growth function (VBGF) is one of the standard models of fishery
science; for length, the VBGF has the form
Lt = L∞·{1 exp[-K(t t0)]} (1)
where Lt is the length at age t, L is the asymptotic length (roughly corresponding to the
maximum length in the population in question), K is a parameter of dimension time-1,
expressing how fast L is approached, and t0 is the (usually negative) age at size = 0 (and not
discussed further here).
The seasonal oscillations in the growth of fish and invertebrates can be very marked
(Figure 2). A variant of the VBGF which accounts well for seasonal oscillation of growth in
length [90] has the form
Lt = L∞·{1 exp-[K(t t0) + S(t) S(t0)]} (2)
where L, K and t0 are defined as in the standard VBGF (see above), and where S(t) =
(CK/2π)·sin π(t – ts) and S(t0) = (CK/2π)·sin π(t0 ts). This equation involves two parameters
more than the standard VBGF: C and ts. Of these, the former is easier to visualize, as it
expresses the amplitude of the growth oscillations. When C = 0, the seasonally oscillating
Studying Jellyfish Fisheries
VBGF reverts to the standard VBGF. When C = 0.5, the seasonal growth oscillations are such
that growth rate increases by 50% at the peak of the ‘growth season,’ i.e., in ‘summer,’ and,
briefly, declines by 50% in ‘winter.’ When C = 1, growth increases by 100%, i.e., doubles
during ‘summer,’ and becomes zero in the depth of ‘winter.’ In fishes, moreover, C = 1 when
the difference in mean monthly SST in the hottest summer month is about 10°C higher than
in the coldest month. For lower summer-winter differences, C is correspondingly lower.
The second new parameter, ts, expresses the time between t = 0 and the start of a sinusoid
growth oscillation. For visualization, it helps to define ts + 0.5 = WP (‘Winter Point’), which
expresses, as a fraction of the year, the period when growth is slowest. WP is often near 0.1
(i.e., early February) in the northern and 0.6 (early August) in the southern hemisphere, hence
the name. Note that it is not necessarily the alternation of high summer and low winter
temperatures which causes the seasonal oscillations of growth. Also note that the seasonally
oscillating VBGF cannot describe long periods of zero growth (and values of C > 1; but see
[91, 92]).
For weight, the VBGF takes the form
Wt = W {1 exp[-K(t t0)]}b (3)
with W being the weight corresponding to L as obtained through a length-weight
relationship of the form W = aˑLb. (Seasonally oscillating forms of the VBGF for weight exist
[92], but are not discussed here).
Similarly, in fisheries research, the model most commonly used to represent the mortality
of fish is
Nt2 = Nt1ˑexp[Z(t2 t1)] (4)
where Nt1 and Nt2 are numbers at time t1 and t2 and Z is the instantaneous rate of total
mortality, with Z = M+F, and M natural and F fishing mortality. The usefulness of this
representation of mortality lies not only in that Z can be readily separated into its components,
but also that the ratio M/K, which is an explicit parameter of various stock assessment
models, tends to be constant within taxa.
The parameters of the VBGF (asymptotic sizes and K) can be estimated by applying
length-frequency analysis (LFA; [96]) to jellyfish bell diameter (i.e., ‘length’) frequency data
[95]. To illustrate this, a selection of LFA methods, i.e., the ELEFAN method (Figure 2) and
Wetherall plots for growth estimation, and length-converted catch curves for mortality
estimation were applied to 34 sets of bell diameter frequency data of jellyfish. This led to the
estimates of parameters of the VBGF and estimates of mortality (notably natural mortality;
M) useful for modeling the life history of jellyfish.
Note that the crucial step in estimating the parameters of the VBGF does not consist of
the estimation of asymptotic bell diameter, for which the maximum size in a field sample
usually provides a good approximation, nor with the parameters describing the seasonality of
growth, which can be approximated from first principles. Rather, the crucial parameter of the
VBGF is K. How well this parameter is estimated can be assessed by plots such as those
shown in Figure 3, which are a standard feature of the ELEFAN procedure.
Lucas Brotz and Daniel Pauly
Figure 2. Jellyfish growth curve fitting with ELEFAN. Panel A: Aurelia aurita from Tokyo Bay, Japan
in 1990-1992 (L/F data from [93]), with L = 35.5 cm and K = 0.86 year -1 for fixed values of C = 0.5
and WP = 0.1. Panel B: First 3 of the 6-years’ L/F data of Catostylus mosaicus from Botany Bay,
Australia sampled between March 1990 and February 1998 [94] with L = 37.0 cm and K = 0.60 year1
for fixed values of C = 0.5 and WP = 0.7. These two growth curves were selected from thousands of
alternatives using a search algorithm in ELEFAN (see Figure 5 and text). (Modified from [95]).
The applications of Wetherall plots (Figure 4A) and catch curves (Figure 4B) yielded the
mean value of M/K for jellyfish that was estimated is about 3 year-1, about two times higher
than the values reported for fishes, which usually range between 1 and 2 year-1 [96]. This high
value of M/K may be due to, at least in some cases, shrinkages of the bells of jellyfish [97],
which could have biased the (fixed) interrelationships of number, size, and age, and which are
assumed in LFA. Note that when K is underestimated by ELEFAN or other LFA, M is also
underestimated (and conversely for overestimation), for which reason the above estimate of
M/K should be robust.
Figure 3. Examples of the goodness-of-fit estimator of ELEFAN in relation to K, as used to estimate
this parameter (and to assess the uncertainty associated with the point estimate) when the other
parameters of the seasonally oscillating VBGF (L, C, and WP) are known or assumed (see arrows).
Panel A: for Aurelia aurita (see Figure 2A); the best fitting K value is not very distinct from adjacent
values; hence, the best estimate of K (= 0.86 year−1) is uncertain. Panel B: Catostylus mosaicus (see
Figure 2B), for which K (= 0.60 year−1) is more reliably estimated. (Modified from [95]).
Studying Jellyfish Fisheries
Figure 4. Methods to estimate M/K or Z from L/F data. Panel A: Wetherall Plot applied to a cumulative
bell diameters of Chrysaora melanaster from the Bering Sea, USA (inset; from [98]) sampled in
September 1996, 1997, and 1999. Only the lengths fully retained by the gear (straight section of graph;
bell diameters >25 cm) are used for the regression, which yielded L = 56.3 cm and Z/K = 2.86. Panel
B: A catch curve applied to bell diameter data for Aurelia aurita in Tokyo Bay, Japan (inset; from
[93]), sampled from May 1990 to December 1992. Using the von Bertalanffy growth parameters in
Figure 2A, yields an estimate of Z = 2.95 year−1. (Modified from [95]).
Figure 5. Auximetric plot of (log10)K against re-scaled values of (log10)W for the major groups of
jellyfishes, on a background of grey dots representing fishes (including two highlighted species,
Zoarces viviparous and Gadus morhua). As might be seen, the Aurelia aurita complex and Catostylus
mosaicus resemble small fishes in their growth pattern, but Chrysaora spp. and Phryllorhiza punctata
(and other species in [95]) may grow faster (higher K for a given W) than fishes. (Modified from
Moreover, it was found that by scaling their asymptotic weight (W, a parameter of the
VBGF) to the weight they would have if they had the same water content as fish, most
jellyfish could be shown to grow at the same rate as small fishes. Thus, as in fish, the VBGF
Lucas Brotz and Daniel Pauly
parameters K and W, when plotted in a double logarithmic (‘auximetric’) plot, tend to
cluster into ellipsoid shapes, which increase in area when shifting from species to genera,
families, etc. (Figure 5). This potentially provides a powerful tool for testing comparative
hypotheses on jellyfish life history. These results are compatible with the suggestion that the
VBGF is not only a convenient mathematical function for describing the growth of jellyfish,
but that it does so because their respiratory physiology makes this growth function, derived
from physiological considerations, the model of choice [89, 92].
The auximetric plot in Figure 5, finally, suggests that some jellyfish (Aurelia aurita
complex, Catostylus mosaicus), once their high water content is accounted for, have growth
patterns similar to small and very small fishes, such as guppies and anchovies. Others
(Phyllorhiza punctata, Chrysaora spp.) may grow faster than fishes (i.e., have higher values
of K for their value of W). However, the accuracy of the position of an organism on an
auximetric plot depends on the accuracy of the growth parameters, and in the case of jellyfish,
on a correct conversion to standard water content. Because of this, these results are still
preliminary. However, it is encouraging that, as in fish (here exemplified by Gadus morhua
and Zoarces viviparus, the different populations in a given species appear to form ellipsoid
clusters on an auximetric plot (see for more). Genera and higher taxa can
be expected, as well, to form such clusters, albeit larger ones. This suggests that the large
cluster for the Aurelia aurita complex would, indeed, include more than one species, as long
suggested by taxonomists [99].
An increasing number of countries have started fishing for jellyfish in recent years with
the hopes of profitably exporting catches to East Asia (see Table 2). Often, this follows
closely on the heels of collapses of more traditional fishery resources. While such ‘fishing
down’ [100] may seem like an obvious progression, new jellyfish fisheries face a number of
barriers to ‘success.’ With only a tiny fraction of the more than 1,200 species of jellyfish
preferred for consumption, new processing techniques will need to be developed if other
species are to meet some of the demand. Processing of jellyfish should also be improved to
eliminate the associated concerns with human and environmental health. In addition,
fluctuations due to changes in market demand should be considered for those hoping to
develop jellyfish fisheries to supply Asian markets (e.g., higher demand for Chinese New
Year celebrations).
Knowledge of the biology and ecology of most jellyfish species is limited, and as such,
implementing management strategies is a challenge, especially given the tendency for
jellyfish populations to fluctuate strongly [73]. Also, the reluctance of jellyfish researchers to
even attempt at using standard models of fish stock assessment derived from studies of teleost
fishes (as illustrated here) will have to be overcome, as there is no time to re-invent the wheel.
While fishing for jellyfish is likely to expand given the decline of fisheries around the
world [81] and the local increases in jellyfish blooms [1], it is unlikely to solve our jellyfish
problems [6] or feed the world.
Studying Jellyfish Fisheries
Support is acknowledged from the Sea Around Us, funded by the Paul G. Allen Family
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... In addition, several species of jellyfish are exceptionally supported for various industries. Animal feeds derived from jellyfish have been used in livestock and aquaculture industries while fertilisers, weedicides, and insecticides made out of jellies are used in agriculture (Brotz & Pauly 2017). Highly expensive gelatine/emulsifier and bioactive compounds derived from jellies are used in the cosmetic (Cho et al. 2014) and pharmaceutical industries (Leone et al. 2015). ...
... Highly expensive gelatine/emulsifier and bioactive compounds derived from jellies are used in the cosmetic (Cho et al. 2014) and pharmaceutical industries (Leone et al. 2015). In fisheries, jellies are used as baits while in the field, as cement additives (Brotz & Pauly 2017). However, the use of jellyfish for such industrial purposes is still negligible compared to jellyfish harvest for direct human consumption. ...
... During the last couple of decades, global demand for edible jellyfish has bloomed, and the biggest jellyfish fishing nation is China followed by Thailand and India. In Asia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, and South Korea are also engaged with the industry (Brotz & Pauly 2017). In addition, some countries in the American continent export processed jellyfish to the markets in Asia (Brotz & Pauly 2017). ...
Full-text available
The risk of jellyfish stings in the Western Pacific region is higher compared to the rest of Asia. Despite the circumstance, there are no formal guidelines released on the management of jellyfish stings in the region, except for Thailand. Furthermore, the community also has no proper knowledge of first aid for these conditions particularly the coastal towns. Hence, this guide is made to provide proper guidance and knowledge to the community. Moreover, this includes safety measures and first aid of jellyfish stings as it aims to educate the public and encourage preventive measures to lessen the risk of jellyfish stings around the region.
... Many scyphozoans such as Aurelia aurita are bloom forming species, wherein populations will undergo a large seasonal increase in abundance, often with significant ecological and socio-economic consequences (Kingsford et al., 2018;Goldstein and Steiner, 2020). They are typically present for a few months to a year, and the drivers behind the large interannual variations in timing and abundance have not been fully explained by existing literature (Brotz and Pauly, 2017;Schnedler-Meyer et al., 2018a). They are likely to be the principle dispersal phase because they are reasonably long-lived (from several months to >1 year) and are planktonic (Dawson and Jacobs, 2001). ...
... Global landings of jellyfish by medusae fisheries recently exceeded 1 million tons (Brotz and Pauly, 2017;. The FAO reports edible species as 'Rhopilema spp.' although as many as 35 species of jellyfish have been eaten by humans, with the majority from the Rhizostomeae (FAO, 2007). ...
... Medusae are often caught using a dip-net that minimizes bycatch, habitat damage, and conflict with other commercial fisheries operating in the area, whilst promoting catch quality . However, like all fisheries, medusa fisheries are at risk from over-fishing, and whilst many species are viewed as a pest, most jellyfish provide valuable ecosystem services (Brotz and Pauly, 2017). Unlike many other commercial species such as fish, the jellyfish lifecycle, more specifically the perennial benthic polyp, may provide a buffer against overfishing, however populations remain vulnerable as demonstrated by the decline in Rhopilema esculentum catches in Chinese waters (Dong et al., 2014). ...
Jellyfish population cycles and bloom events occur at global, regional, and local scales. Understanding what causes these cycles now and in the future is a major question in jellyfish bloom research, because of the potential impacts on ecosystem function and services. Most bloom forming scyphozoan jellyfish have complex life histories involving a long-lived asexually reproducing benthic polyp and a sexually reproducing pelagic medusae. Environmental and climate factors affect each life stage, but we do not fully understand how these variables drive life stage transition, or how demographic differences in survival, growth and fecundity translate into visible jellyfish outbreaks. We undertook a comprehensive laboratory and field-based study of the physicochemical conditions that control survival, fecundity and phase transition of the different life stages of scyphozoan jellyfish. Through this research, we examine the effects of environmental drivers on jellyfish population cycles and life stage transition. Modifications to estuaries through the construction of barrages alter the natural dynamics of inhabitant species by controlling freshwater inputs into those systems, driving the presence and absence of medusae from estuaries. As well as this, we explore how environmental conditions translate into reproductive success or failure in temperate populations from the medusa to the polyp life stage, demonstrating that early polyp growth rates are strongly linked to their thermal environment and highlighting a potential marine heatwave event. We examine not only the effects of temperature and other climate drivers on scyphozoan jellyfish growth, survival and reproduction, but also whether epigenetic transgenerational effects can drive acclimation to warmer summer temperatures in the short term in the context of a warming ocean. No parental effects were observed in the first or second generation, and in the third generation the transgenerational effects of temperature were subtle and appeared most strongly in cooling scenarios. Finally, within the setting of anthropogenically-driven climate change, we demonstrate for the first time that A. aurita polyps require a minimum period of cooler temperatures to strobilate, contradicting claims that jellyfish populations will be more prevalent in warming oceans, specifically in the context of warmer winter conditions. To answer these questions, we chose the common, or moon jellyfish Aurelia aurita as our primary experimental organism. However, we expanded our research to other species to demonstrate how they may vary in both environment and response to forcing factors as compared to a ‘typical’ model species. This thesis highlights the importance of examining each population within the context of their environment, and advances our understanding of how the climate and environment affect jellyfish life stage transition.
... For centuries, different species of jellyfishes have been harvested for food and various other uses such as cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, fish feeds and baits; in agriculture as fertilizers and insecticides etc. (Brotz and Pauly, 2017). Regions of the eastern hemisphere remained as the major producers and consumers of jellyfishes until recently when they began being targeted by various countries across the western hemisphere, triggered by the depleted stocks and the resultant heavy demand for jellies from East Asia (Brotz et al., 2016;Bleve et al., 2019). ...
... The most severe fishery impact of jellyfish occurs in the North Pacific followed by the Mediterranean and a few reported incidents from other parts of the world (Bosch-Belmar, 2020). In India, the jellyfish fishery began in the 1980s (Brotz and Pauly, 2017). However it remained more or less non-targeted, although often caught and landed on various parts of both the eastern and western coast of India (CMFRI, 2017;Baliarsingh et al., 2020). ...
Full-text available
Sporadic and seasonal landings of jellyfishes along the southern coast of India have been under investigation since 2018. The catostylid jellyfish Crambionella orsini is the only species that contributes to a fishery in this region. In the October to January months, a seasonal fishery exists along the Kanyakumari, Thiruvananthapuram and Neendakara coast, with catches being made variously by gillnetters, single day trawlers, multi-day trawlers and shore seines. An unprecedented 44 day fishery on the Neendakara coast from December 2020 to January 2021 was investigated in depth, with estimated landings of 453.16 metric tonnes landed at Sakthikulangara and Neendakara Fisheries Harbours in Kollam District, Kerala. Economic efficiency of the fishery from Sakthikulangara Fisheries Harbour was estimated as 44.76 gross value added as percentage of gross revenue and net operating income of ₹1313 per fishing trip with average earning to a crew member being ₹510 per trip. The oral arms of C. orsini is the only part of the jellyfish that are traded and exported, mainly to China and South east Asian countries after salt curing. Emergence of this augmentative fishery has come as a boon to fishers combating the regressive environment of the Covid-19 period. Promotion of this fishery with increased processing and export facilities and investigations into value added products from the resource is recommended
... Some studies have reported on the status of jellyfish fisheries on local (Nishikawa et al., 2008;Gul;Jahangir & Schiariti, 2015) and wider scales (Omori & Kitamura, 2001;Brotz, 2016;. However, there is a lack of standardized methodology to assess and better understand the jellyfish stocks (Brotz & Pauly, 2017). Jellyfish are an important economic resource in some countries. ...
Full-text available
Some points related to the impacts (either negative or positive) caused by jellyfish (scyphomedusae) are briefly presented. Although medusae cause several negative impacts, they also have a positive side. It is argued that jellyfish blooms are becoming more frequent in areas where anthropogenic impacts are higher. Human perceptions of jellyfish need more study to better understand the role of these animals in the environment. Only then we will be able to decide if they are "good" or "bad".
... Some studies have reported on the status of jellyfish fisheries on local (Nishikawa et al., 2008;Gul;Jahangir & Schiariti, 2015) and wider scales (Omori & Kitamura, 2001;Brotz, 2016;. However, there is a lack of standardized methodology to assess and better understand the jellyfish stocks (Brotz & Pauly, 2017). Jellyfish are an important economic resource in some countries. ...
Full-text available
Some points related to the impacts (either negative or positive) caused by jellyfish(scyp homedusae) are briefly presented. Although medusae cause several negative impacts, they also have a positive side. It is argued that jellyfish blooms are becoming more frequent in areas where anthropogenic impacts are higher. Human perceptions of jellyfish need more study to better understand the role of these animals in the environment. Only then will we be able to decide if they are “good” or “bad”. Keywords: medusa, gelatinous zooplankton, Scyphozoa, marine zoology, marine impacts, climate change.
... Monthly or even weekly assessments of Cassiopea would be straightforward using a drone and would allow blooms to be detected as they occur. This is important because of the high rate at which jellyfish populations expand and collapse, allowing successful precautionary methods to be developed to counteract any impacts [1,36,45]. ...
Full-text available
Upside-down jellyfish ( Cassiopea sp.) are mostly sedentary, benthic jellyfish that have invaded estuarine ecosystems around the world. Monitoring the spread of this invasive jellyfish must contend with high spatial and temporal variability in abundance of individuals, especially around their invasion front. Here, we evaluated the utility of drones to survey invasive Cassiopea in a coastal lake on the east coast of Australia. To assess the efficacy of a drone-based methodology, we compared the densities and counts of Cassiopea from drone observations to conventional boat-based observations and evaluated cost and time efficiency of these methods. We showed that there was no significant difference in Cassiopea density measured by drones compared to boat-based methods along the same transects. However, abundance estimates of Cassiopea derived from scaling-up transect densities were over-inflated by 319% for drones and 178% for boats, compared to drone-based counts of the whole site. Although conventional boat-based survey techniques were cost-efficient in the short-term, we recommend doing whole-of-site counts using drones. This is because it provides a time-saving and precise technique for long-term monitoring of the spatio-temporally dynamic invasion front of Cassiopea in coastal lakes and other sheltered marine habitats with relatively clear water.
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Gelatinous zooplankton species can cause great concerns on biodiversity and human activities. But there is a lack of knowledge on its current sociological impact on humans. In the Berre Lagoon (Southeast of France), survey have been done to study the population dynamics of three gelatinous species (Mnemiopsis leidyi, Aurelia sp., and Gonionemus vertens) in relation with the environment. As part of the “biological survey” (2015–2017), an interdisciplinary approach was performed to combine field measurements with perception through testimonies of social actors across a “sociological survey”. The human “perception” and the field “measurements” were linked along the framework of risk: Risk = hazard x vulnerability. The invasive ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi was the most abundant species in the Berre Lagoon causing high impacts on human activities, in particular on the artisanal fisheries the most affected human activity by M. leidyi involving the human (i.e. hard work), the technical (i.e. deterioration of fishing nets, clogs nets, mutilation of fish), and the economic losses representing 50% of their annual revenue. The clogging of the nets affected not only the quantity of fish but also their quality, as they were smothered and mutilated. The data collected allowed us to estimate an abundance tolerance threshold (~ 10 ind m−3) by social actors, above which M. leidyi was considered to be a nuisance. Beach goers accept relatively well M. leidyi, mainly because it does not sting. Up to the abundance tolerance threshold defined in our study, beach goers escaped from the lagoon, favored the sea or the pool. Even if they are highly impacted by M. leidyi, the fishermen showed an ability to changed they practices by a cohabitation and technical responses (i.e., increase the number of trips and the duration of the setting of nets). Finally, the recent arrival in 2016 of the stinging invasive hydromedusa G. vertens can causes some health issues on fishermen and beach goers in the future in the Berre Lagoon.
Jellyfish are marine invertebrates notorious for tentacles that contain venom-bearing nematocytes, which cause painful stings. Climatic changes and human activities have resulted in increasing jellyfish blooms, which have negatively affected functioning of the marine ecosystem as well as human socioeconomic activities. However, some edible jellyfish species have been consumed in Asia for centuries as a food and in medicinal purposes. Moreover, recent research studies have discovered various bioactive properties of jellyfish venoms, including antioxidant, antihypertensive, anticancer, and antimicrobial properties. This review mainly emphasizes the recent studies that have focused on the possible utilization of jellyfish in food and medical applications.
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This identification guide includes 56 species of macro (> 5 cm in diameter) jellyfishes (cnidarians, ctenophores, and thaliaceans) that are known to occur off the coast of West Africa. It provides fully illustrated dichotomous keys to all taxa, an illustrated glossary of technical terms for each main group, and species accounts including the scientific name, diagnostic features, colour, size, ecology, stinging, geographical distribution, and one or more illustrations. The guide is intended for both specialists, and non-specialists who have a working knowledge of biology.
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Two species of scyphozoan jellyfish were observed to be used as live baits in a traditional small-scale trap fishery operated in the eastern Sri Lanka. However, there was limited taxonomic knowledge on the respective scyphomedusae. Therefore, altogether 83 specimens of these jellyfishes netted from several coastal localities of the country from 2016 to 2020 and eight museum specimens were examined taxonomically to reveal their identity. Of the species identified, Acromitus flagellatus was reported for the first time from Sri Lanka while Lychnorhiza malayensis was re-reported and these two species are presented here with detailed descriptions. As both species are mild stingers, so far no severe health issues have been reported in Sri Lanka. However, as bloom-forming species clogged jellyfish have adversely affected gillnet, trammel-net, and stake-net operations in coastal water bodies of Sri Lanka by reducing fish catches and damaging nets.
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Fisheries for jellyfish (primarily scyphomedusae) have a long history in Asia, where people have been catching and processing jellyfish as food for centuries. More recently, jellyfish fisheries have expanded to the Western Hemisphere, often driven by demand from buyers in Asia as well as collapses of more traditional local finfish and shellfish stocks. Despite this history and continued expansion, jellyfish fisheries are understudied, and relevant information is sparse and disaggregated. Catches of jellyfish are often not reported explicitly, with countries including them in fisheries statistics as “miscellaneous invertebrates” or not at all. Research and management of jellyfish fisheries is scant to nonexistent. Processing technologies for edible jellyfish have not advanced, and present major concerns for environmental and human health. Presented here is the first global assessment of jellyfish fisheries, including identification of countries that catch jellyfish, as well as which species are targeted. A global catch reconstruction is performed for jellyfish landings from 1950 to 2013, as well as an estimate of mean contemporary catches. Results reveal that all investigated aspects of jellyfish fisheries have been underestimated, including the number of fishing countries, the number of targeted species, and the magnitudes of catches. Contemporary global landings of jellyfish are at least 750,000 tonnes annually, more than double previous estimates. Jellyfish have historically been understudied, resulting in the current dearth of knowledge on population dynamics and jellyfish fishery management. However, many of the tools used in traditional fisheries science, such as length-frequency analysis, can be applied to jellyfish, as demonstrated herein. Research priorities are identified, along with a prospective outlook on the future of jellyfish fisheries.
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Fisheries data assembled by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) suggest that global marine fisheries catches increased to 86 million tonnes in 1996, then slightly declined. Here, using a decade-long multinational 'catch reconstruction' project covering the Exclusive Economic Zones of the world's maritime countries and the High Seas from 1950 to 2010, and accounting for all fisheries, we identify catch trajectories differing considerably from the national data submitted to the FAO. We suggest that catch actually peaked at 130 million tonnes, and has been declining much more strongly since. This decline in reconstructed catches reflects declines in industrial catches and to a smaller extent declining discards, despite industrial fishing having expanded from industrialized countries to the waters of developing countries. The differing trajectories documented here suggest a need for improved monitoring of all fisheries, including often neglected small-scale fisheries, and illegal and other problematic fisheries, as well as discarded bycatch.
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Whether jellyfish are increasing or not in the global ocean is a subject of some debate, but the fact remains that when they bloom, jellyfish can negatively affect local economies. Despite this, there has been no robust debate about the idea of deliberately removing jellyfish as a means of population control. Here, we discuss the effects of fishing for jellyfish, either as a sustainable resource and/or as a way to simply reduce their nuisance value, on both individual jellyfish populations and the ecosystem. Given that the drivers influencing each local bloom are different, or that the effects of more widespread drivers may be manifested differently at each locale, our priority at population control/use needs to be more basic research on jellyfish. While we do not advocate a no-fishing approach, we emphasize the need to be cautious in embracing jellyfish fisheries as a panacea and we need to consider the management of each bloom on a case-by-case basis.
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In April 2012, a forest fire burned a large proportion of the understory and overstory vegetation on Mount Jubong, which is located in Hoengseonggun, Gangwondo in the Republic of Korea. In this forest, we examined the contributions of jellyfish fertilizer on survival and growth of Pinus thunbergii and Quercus palustris seedlings. The results showed that jellyfish fertilizer contributed high concentrations of the available moisture and nutrients to soil conditions. Jellyfish fertilizer contains high concentration of organic matter, which plays an important role for improving the physical structure of the soil. This is likely to increase the soil moisture and supply nutrients, which could promote survival and growth of seedlings. However, the effect of jellyfish fertilizer on survival of Q. palustris seedlings varied with its application rate whereas it of P. thunbergii seedlings increased with application rate of jellyfish fertilizer. This should be because that excessive salt concentration, which can be caused by high application of jellyfish fertilizer, affect adversely the growing plants and/or root distribution. Under the considering survival rates of both seedlings, the results showed that the optimum application rates of jellyfish fertilizer for enhancement of seedling growths were 50 g/tree for P. thunbergii seedlings and 30 g/tree for Q. palustris seedlings, respectively. This reflects that the jellyfish fertilizer promotes soil amendment, and has a positive contributor to the growths of both shoot and root parts, which is obviously required to secure competitiveness in an early growth stage. Although this study was spatially and temporarily limited, the findings are likely to provide important information regarding the establishment of forest restoration strategies in the burned and degraded areas where the possibilities of human and property damages are high.
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Specimens of three edible jellyfish from Japan, i.e. "Bizen kurage", "Hizen kurage", and "Echizen kurage", are re-examined and re-described so that their nomenclature is stabilized. The "Bizen kurage" is Rhopilema esculentum Kishinouye 1891, and the "Hizen kurage" is Rhopilema hispidum (Vanhöffen 1888). The "Echizen kurage" is a distinct species of the genus Nemopilema. We propose to revive the original name Nemopilema nomurai Kishinouye 1922 from the more commonly used Stomolophus nomurai. The taxonomic position of N. nomurai within the Scapulatae is discussed.
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Recent catches of jellyfishes have exceeded 500 000 Mt yr(-1) and almost all of the jellyfishes harvested are of the Order Rhizostomeae. In this review we emphasise the peculiarities of managing a fishery for jellyfishes (cf. more traditional fisheries such as bony fishes). The review will discuss single-species and multi-species concerns about the exploitation of jellyfishes. The population dynamics of jellyfishes are complicated. A substantial proportion of the lire history of these organisms is spent as benthic polyps (and associated asexual forms) and fluctuations in abundance of medusae are great, partly because the medusoid stage is generally short-lived. Changes in biomass of edible jellyfishes, at timescales of weeks to years, are probably larger than for any other fishery. Uncertainty in a fishery is usually great if: the target species is short-lived; highly fecund; there is considerable variation in abundance; and a large proportion of the stock is aggregated. Jellyfishes meet all of these criteria for uncertain fisheries. There is considerable evidence that physical processes may influence stock abundance of jellyfishes (e.g. changes in salinity) and good empirical models may result for some jelly fish fisheries. Although it is known that changes in physical conditions may trigger strobilation, there are few data on other effects such as variation in the survival of ephyrae, Multi-species considerations are diverse and harvesting of jellyfishes may affect other fisheries. For example, predation by jellyfishes is thought to have a major impact on the survival of fish larvae. Some bony fishes and invertebrates associate with jellyfishes. The abundance of medusae, therefore, may influence rates of survival of associated species. The biomass of medusae in coastal environments can be so substantial that it can influence all types of plankton (directly or indirectly). Jellyfishes may respond to, and influence, nutrient loads. They may also have a major impact on benthic assemblages. We present a detailed case history on the fishery for Catostylus mosaicus in Australia. Evidence is provided that the stock units for C, mosaicus often may be small, on a scale of kilometres to tens of kilometres (especially in semi-enclosed water masses, i.e. saline lakes and semi-enclosed estuaries) and patterns of distribution of other species of edible jellyfishes worldwide suggest restricted distributions. Small stocks may be vulnerable to intensive fishing. This vulnerability posed great problems for managers, especially given that the value of jellyfish fisheries is often low compared with other fisheries (e.g. fishes, prawns and lobsters). We advocate the following risk averse approaches for jellyfish fisheries: (a) treat geographic entities (e.g. estuaries) as stocks until proved otherwise; (b) fisheries should be based only on the known biomass of medusae and it should not be assumed that perennial benthic reserves of polyps and podocysts will buffer over-exploitation.
Conference Paper
Jellyfish are the oldest, simplest, and arguably most successful species of swimming animal in the world. Yet they are primarily considered a nuisance on beaches or, at best, an attraction for aquarium-goers. This talk will describe how a biology-inspired approach to engineering has placed jellyfish at the center of efforts to build next-generation underwater vehicles. In particular, physical principles of unsteady vortex dynamics are extracted from laboratory and SCUBA studies of jellyfish, and are subsequently applied to the design of a propeller-driven, unmanned underwater vehicle. Improvements in hydrodynamic efficiency of up to 50 percent are achieved in experiments, demonstrating the potential of bio-inspired approaches to propulsion even in the absence of direct biomimicry.
In the present study, we describe the isolation and detailed characterization of pepsin-soluble atelo-collagen from Rhizostoma Pulmo species jellyfish and application towards thrombin apta-sensing. Various analysis methods including infra-red spectroscopy, SDS-PAGE electrophoresis, and amino acid analysis have been applied for the characterization of jellyfish collagen and compared with both rat tail collagen and BSA. When comparing the two collagen types derived from jellyfish and rat tail, jellyfish collagen was observed to contain a relatively high amount of glutamic acid (61 residues/1000 residues) and alanine (63 residues/1000 residues) but low amounts of proline (113 residues/1000 residues). On the other hand, pepsin-soluble jellyfish collagen contained a small quantity of tyrosine indicating the purity of atelo-collagen. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy is the main analyzing technique of the developed apta-sensor. The proposed apta-sensor has a detection limit of 6.25 nM thrombin. Clinical application were performed with analysis of the thrombin levels in blood and CSF samples obtained from patients with Multiple Sclerosis, Myastenia Gravis, Epilepsy, Parkinson, Polyneuropathy and healthy donors using both the apta-sensor and commercial ELISA kit. The results revealed the proposed system to be a promising candidate for clinical analysis of thrombin.
Type A (acid treated process) and type B (alkaline treated process) gelatin were extracted from the umbrella of desalted jellyfish (Lobonema smithii) by sulfuric acid and sodium hydroxide, respectively, at different temperatures (60 and 75°C) and times (6 and 12 h). The condition of H2SO4 and NaOH used were adjusted to pH 2 and pH 14, respectively. The degree of hydrolysis of type B jellyfish gelatin (77.13%) was greater than that of type A gelatin (65.30%) at 75°C for 12 h. The highest content of soluble protein (203.12 mg/ml) of type A jellyfish gelatin was lower than that of type B jellyfish gelatin (350.02 mg/ml) treated at 75°C for 12 h. The type A of jellyfish gelatin exhibited gel formation only at the condition of 75°C for 6 and 12 h, but type B jellyfish gelatin had no gel formation at all conditions used. The hue color of type A and type B jellyfish gelatin had values in the range of 47.28-83.64 and 82.89-88.58, respectively. In summary only type A jellyfish gelatin exhibiting gel formation can be produced by sulfuric acid hydrolysis (pH 2) at a temperature of 75°C for 12 h.
Jellyfishes were carefully collected from Parangipettai coastal waters, Southeast coast of India, during post monsoon season. The present research aimed to isolate and characterize the collagens for the first time from marine waters. Collagens (acid-solubilized and pepsin-solubilized collagens) were prepared and partially characterized from jellyfish, Chrysaora quinquecirrha whole tissue (WT) and nematocyst suspension (NS. The yield of collagen was 0.48% of GSC and 1.28% of PSC on the basis of lyophilized dry weight. Amino acid content of WT and collagenase digested NS revealed that hydroxyproline and glycine were present in the amounts of 1.8 & 9.2 % and 5.14 & 28.3 % respectively, moreover it was relatively stable at 29.0 °C for 60 min. The highest utilization of collagen is in pharmaceutical applications including production of wound dressings, vitreous implants and as carriers for drug delivery. Moreover, collagen is used for the production of cosmetics as it has a good moisturizing property. Thus the jellyfish tissues and nematocyst suspension will have potential source in biomedical applications, their relevance studies are in progress.