Nov 23, 2007

Jellyfish wiped out salmon farm in Northern Ireland

A freaky attack! Jellyfish wiped out Northern Ireland's only salmon farm, with more than 1 million pounds' ($2.06 million) worth of stock massacred in the attack. The jellyfish, covering an area of around 10 square miles , engulfed the Northern Salmon Company's cages off the province's northeastern coast, suffocating 100,000 fish, the firm's Managing Director, John Russell, told Reuters on Thursday.

Staff on their way to give the fish their morning feed noticed a "reddish-brown tinge" to the sea and then realized the boats were struggling to make headway through an expanse of jellyfish up to 35 feet deep, Russell said.

"A few hours later all our salmon were dead, the bulk of them suffocated."

The attack, by a type of jellyfish known as a "Mauve Stinger", happened late last week off the coast of County Antrim, an area popular with tourists. The mauve stinger, noted for its purplish night-time glow, is more commonly found in warmer Mediterranean waters.

Russell said the occurrence, when jellyfish "bloom" in such quantities, only happened every decade or so and last week's appearance off the Irish coast was also due to unusual environmental factors including higher-than-normal water temperatures.


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