I may be slightly obsessed with jellyfish.
Last time I blipped about (barrel) jellyfish some commentators felt uneasy with the idea that problems caused the booming numbers of these creatures could be alleviated if they were harvested as a useful resource. The possible uses include food (for humans and animals), medicine, fertiliser, and, using their slime, mopping up plastic particles in the sea.
There's a strange paradox here because it seems that jellyfish are one of the few sea creatures to have benefited from the degradation of their environment. The toxic waste that pours into the sea from industry, shipping, sewage and agricultural run-off robs the water of oxygen. This is less of a problem for jellyfish than for other sea creatures. The warming climate allows them to extend their habitat and to reproduce faster. Human activity in and around the sea has boomeranged in the form of jellyfish and now they are threatening those very activities - fishing, shipping, tourism etc. Jellyfish have few natural predators and with their appetites and their slime their presence can be destructive to other ocean life.
As we struggle to find ways to re-balance our world it may be that jellyfish have already gained the upper hand. A senior marine scientist has said
“If ecosystems are healthy, then jellies will do their normal thing…But if you nudge the system towards the more perturbed side, the jellyfish will take off. And so we do sort of think of jellies as that kind of canary, that bellwether of change.”
Read more about this here.