Friday, June 8, 2007

Jelly-fish busters

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Every beach-goer's icky nightmare — the jellyfish — faces a new enemy in Spain under a plan to create an armada of recreational boaters to spot the stinging blobs along the coast and summon help.

The pilot project, due to be approved Friday at a Cabinet meeting, has been devised to counter an exponential rise in jellyfish populations in many areas off Spain, the world's second most popular tourist destination.

The problem stems in part from overfishing that has sapped stocks of natural jellyfish predators like tuna and turtles, and of small fish that compete with jellyfish to feed on plankton, said Josep-Maria Gili, a marine biologist who is helping to coordinate the project.

Another factor appears to be global warming: jellyfish are drifting close to beaches more frequently as decreasing rainfall causes a drop in cooler, fresh-water runoff from rivers — a natural barrier for the creatures, he said.

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Source : iht | Picture : frank

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