Jellyfish blooms perception in Mediterranean finfish aquaculture

Last modified: 
November 23, 2016 - 10:55pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2017
Date published: 02/2017
Authors: Mar Bosch-Belmar, Ernesto Azzurro, Kristian Pulis, Giacomo Milisenda, Veronica Fuentes, Ons Yahia, Anton Micallef, Alan Deidun, Stefano Piraino
Journal title: Marine Policy
Volume: 76
Pages: 1 - 7
ISSN: 0308597X

In recent years, negative impacts of jellyfish blooms (JB) on marine human activities have been increasingly reported. Aquaculture has been affected by jellyfish outbreaks, mostly documented through repeated episodes of farmed salmon mortalities in Northern Europe; however, the valuation of JB consequences on the aquaculture sector still remains poorly quantified. This study aims to provide the first quantitative evaluation effects of JB on finfish aquaculture in the Mediterranean Sea and to investigate the general awareness of JB impacts among Mediterranean aquaculture professional workers. The aquaculture workers' perception about JB was assessed through a structured interview-based survey administered across 21 aquaculture facilities in central and western Mediterranean. The workers' awareness about JB impacts on aquaculture differed among countries. Italian and Spanish fish farmers were better informed about jellyfish proliferations and, together with Tunisian farmers, they all recognized the wide potential consequences of JB on sea bream and sea bass aquaculture. On the contrary, the majority of Maltese respondents considered JB as a non-significant threat to their activity, mostly based on off-shore tuna farming. This study for the first time shows that JB may negatively affect different Mediterranean aquaculture facilities from Tunisia (Sicily Channel) and Spain (Alboran Sea), by increasing farmed fish gill disorders and mortality, clogging net cages, or inflicting painful stings to field operators, with severe economic consequences. Available knowledge calls for the development of coordinated preventive plans, adaptation policies, and mitigation countermeasures across European countries in order to address the JB phenomenon and its impacts on coastal water activities.

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