Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Japan is the land of movie monsters. It is also the land of actual monsters.

The Japanese fishing industry has been devastated by repeated infestations of six feet wide, 440-pound jellyfish known as echizen kurage (Nomura’s jellyfish).

The aquatic pests destroy fishing nets, poisoning the catch. Some of the monstrous jellyfish have even managed to breach security at Japan’s nuclear power plants, clogging up the cool-water pumps.

Echizen kurage enjoyed a population boom in 2005 that still has scientists puzzled. Some have cited over-fishing, global warming and agricultural pollution as possible causes of the surge.

The mass of giant jellyfish assembling now in the Yellow Sea off China is the largest ever. Ocean currents will guide the pesky creatures straight to Japan.

Jellyfish are difficult to eradicate because, when under attack, they tend to release millions of eggs.

As the saying goes, when life hands you a bag of lemons, you make lemonade. In the Japanese version, you eat jellyfish ice cream. The Japanese, to their credit, have seamlessly integrated the sea monsters into their cuisine.


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