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Saturday, November 28, 2020

Fishermen’s nightmare: 80-90% daily catch in Maharashtra is jellyfish

“The rise in the occurrence of jellyfish indicates rising ocean water temperature. Presence of jellyfish in the area indicates the reduction in the fish population," said Ganesh Nakhwa, vice-president of Maharashtra Purse Seine Fishing Welfare Association.

Written by Sanjana Bhalerao | Mumbai | Updated: November 23, 2020 11:38:11 am
Maharashtra fishermen, jellyfish, decrese in fish population, Mumbai news, Maharashtra news, Indian express newsJellyfish can survive increasing temperature, pollution levels.

For the past one month, jellyfish have created a havoc for fishermen in the state. Fishermen from Palghar to Sindhudurg have raised complaints that nearly 80-90 per cent of their daily catch is clogged with the crown or purple-striped jellyfish or orange jellyfish.

“The rise in the occurrence of jellyfish indicates rising ocean water temperature. Presence of jellyfish in the area indicates the reduction in the fish population. In addition to reduced fish catch, the jellyfish bulk also damage the fishing nets. In last one month, jellyfish swarms are caught in coastal, as well as deep water,” said Ganesh Nakhwa, vice-president of Maharashtra Purse Seine Fishing Welfare Association.

Jellyfish can survive increasing temperature and pollution levels. In fact, the increasing levels of pollution in coastal waters are conducive for their growth. Jellyfish eat plant plankton, the eggs and larvae of fish — as well as young fish, reducing fish populations. They can eat 10 times their body weight daily.

“Jellyfish presence is always in swarms/bulk. Since they sting, the fishermen cannot separate the fish catch and the jellyfish from the net. It is not that this is the first year we have recorded the jellyfish’s presence, but now even small trawlers, net are catching them in bulk, pointing at the increase in the population in the state’s waters,” said Swapnil Tandel, a marine biologist and fishery consultant with Numer8 Analytics.

Ramkumar S, scientist-in-charge, Centre for Marine Fisheries and Research Institute (CMFRI), Mumbai, who has been studying jellyfish occurrence in six coastal districts of Maharashtra, said, “The jellyfish swarms’ sightings are not a new or recent phenomenon. Our ongoing study has shown that the jellyfish swarms have been existing in the state’s coastal water in the past five decades. We have recently received a complaint from Dahanu area. The occurrence of jellyfish is at its peak between September and January.”

Every year, Mumbai, Goa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh beaches spot jellyfish swarms post monsoon. However, now, there are jellyfish invasions throughout the year, with its bloom reported off the coast of Visakhapatnam for the first time in 2018.

Stretches of Goa’s beaches witnessed jellyfish blooms in July 2008 and many tourists and others had to be hospitalised after they were stung by the Portuguese Man-O’-War species. The presence of bluebottle jellyfish, which is also known as the Portuguese Man-O’-War, created panic at Girgaum Chowpatty, Aksa and Juhu beaches in Mumbai in 2018.

In the last one week, over 90 tourists have received treatment after they were stung by jellyfish on Goa beaches.

In July, a swarm of jellyfish clogged up a cooling system and nearly suspended production at a power plant in Israel.

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