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400 lb. Jellyfish in Japan caused by Global Warming?


DeanCollins

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Godzillafish?

Invasion of the giant jellyfish

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A diver is dwarfed by a giant nomura jellyfish in waters off Echizen, Japan

TOKYO, Japan (Reuters) -- A slimy jellyfish weighing as much as a sumo wrestler has Japan's fishing industry in the grip of its poisonous tentacles.

Vast numbers of Echizen kurage, or Nomura's jellyfish, have appeared around Japan's coast since July, clogging and ripping fishing nets and forcing fishermen to spend hours hacking them apart before bringing home their reduced catches.

Representatives of fishing communities around the country gathered in Tokyo on Thursday, hoping to thrash out solutions to a pest that has spread from the Japan Sea to the Pacific coast.

"It's a terrible problem. They're like aliens," Noriyuki Kani of the fisheries federation in Toyama, northwest of Tokyo, told Reuters ahead of the conference.

There are no official figures on the size of the problem, but Kani says the financial losses are obvious.

"If your nets are full of jellyfish, of course there is no space for fish," he said.

Cutting up and disposing of the giants can turn a three-hour fishing trip into a 10-hour marathon, while valuable fish are poisoned or crushed under the weight of the unwanted catch.

And what a catch. One Echizen kurage can be up to 2 meters (6 feet, 7 inches) in diameter and weigh up to 200 kilograms (440 pounds).

Despite their size, the invertebrates aren't toxic enough to cause serious harm to humans, but fishermen often wear goggles and protective clothing to avoid stings when dealing with them.

Much about the jellyfish, the largest variety found in the Sea of Japan, remains a mystery, according to Hitoshi Iizumi of the Seikai National Fisheries Research Institute in Niigata.

Researchers have suggested they drift to Japan on currents after reproducing in South Korean or Chinese waters, a theory that Japan wants to investigate with the other two nations.

But with relations between Japan and its nearest neighbors at a low ebb, Tokyo wants to avoid apportioning blame.

"We have a neutral stance," said Yukihiko Sakamoto of the National Fisheries Agency, which organized Thursday's conference.

'Culinary solution'

"It doesn't matter whether the jellyfish come from South Korean waters or Japanese waters. We just want to do something to minimize the damage to the fishing industry," he said.

Spikes in population have occurred in the past, notably in 1958, but consecutive outbreaks in 2002 and 2003 prompted the government to seek reasons and solutions.

Scientists have suggested global warming might be a factor.

link to the rest of the article

http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/asiapcf/01/19/japan.jellyfish.reut/index.html

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Why do scientists think global warming might be a factor? Are these jellyfish migrating from warmer waters to traditionally cooler waters? If so, how do they know whether or not the temperature change is a normal variance (temporary) or caused by global warming?

The article just throws a sentence in there about global warming without attribution or any data to back up the statement.

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It is impossible to establish causality when doing observational science.

Any theory that is possible cannot be rejected. It can be shown to be highly, highly unlikely - but not rejected.

"Scientists have suggested global warming might be a factor." This does not mean anything. If Global Warming caused ANY kind of a change in the environment = it might be a factor.

Having said that, that's one huge jellyfish!

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Any theory that is possible cannot be rejected. It can be shown to be highly, highly unlikely - but not rejected.

True.

And that's why gravity may just be one incredibly improbable coincidence, right?

Where certainty is impossible, probability is extremely valuable.

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Let's be realistic. There are all kinds of giant species in the oceans. I wouldn't be too suprised if there was a 50 foot eel or something. Maybe there's a huge shark that swims 100 MPH and eats whales. Maybe these fantasies are influenced by movies, but I think it's a possibility.

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