Our oceans are changing and jellyfish prosper

Jellyfish Bloom Jellyfish bloom

Commercial fishermen use nets that may measure more than a mile in length.  These efficient fishing techniques have made it possible to bring cheap seafood to our table.  The sea was thought to be an inexhaustible source of food, but warmer ocean waters and overfishing have resulted in major changes in marine ecosystems.

Around the world, jellyfish populations are displacing fish and becoming the dominant form of marine life.  Jellyfish populations have become so dense that they have overwhelmed fishing nets along the coast of France and clogged the water intake pipes of nuclear power plants in Japan.  Jellyfish are consuming shrimp larvae and small fish thus reducing the population of species that are important to humans.  Jellyfish compete for the same kinds of prey as adult and young fishes, so we are promoting the expansion of jellyfish habitats by overfishing and polluting the waters.

Fish provide valuable sources of essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for human diets.  If our society continues to exploit natural resources without limits that guarantee renewal, we will wipe out the fauna and flora on which we depend.  Neanderthals managed to survive for over 230,000 years in Europe.  We, who have named ourselves Homo Sapiens, meaning “wise man”, have only been around for approximately 60,000 years.  Will we use our intelligence to outlive the Neanderthals?