Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Mmm... Jumbo Jellyfish Ice Cream

Japanese fishermen have recently been plagued by jumbo jellyfish that clog up their nets. Why did I feel compelled to blog on this? One reason: this photo is just too creepy-cool not to post.

While the cause of the rising jellyfish population is unclear, scientists have suggested global warming might be to blame. But as with other alleged impacts of global warming, the harms are accompanied by some potential benefits:
South Korean fishermen have been suffering similar woes, but China, where giant jellyfish are a delicacy often served dried and dressed with sesame oil, does not seem to have registered the outbreak as a major problem, Japanese officials said.

Seaside communities in Japan have tried to capitalize on the menace by developing novel jellyfish dishes, ranging from tofu to ice cream, but for some reason the recipes have failed to take off.

Participants at the conference said they had experimented with feeding the jellyfish to farmed crabs and using them as fertilizer.
David Friedman’s recent post on offsetting positive and negative externalities seems relevant.

1 comment:

Dylan said...

Well, we can tell where the biases in that piece are, only noting global warming as a possible cause.

The Economist offered some other possible explanations:

"No one knows the exact reason for the rise in the jellyfish population, but there are suspicions. One is the development of ports and harbours along the Chinese coast, which has created many more structures to which echizen larvae can attach themselves. Another is that the seas off China are choked with nutrient-rich run-off from farms and industry. A third is Chinese overfishing in local waters: with fewer fish, there are more of the kinds of plankton on which the jellyfish feed. A final possibility is global warming."

The second seemed most likely to my totally uninformed mind.