UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Jellyfish fisheries of the world Brotz, Lucas


Fisheries for jellyfish (primarily scyphomedusae) have a long history in Asia, where people have been catching and processing jellyfish as food for centuries. More recently, jellyfish fisheries have expanded to the Western Hemisphere, often driven by demand from buyers in Asia as well as collapses of more traditional local finfish and shellfish stocks. Despite this history and continued expansion, jellyfish fisheries are understudied, and relevant information is sparse and disaggregated. Catches of jellyfish are often not reported explicitly, with countries including them in fisheries statistics as “miscellaneous invertebrates” or not at all. Research and management of jellyfish fisheries is scant to nonexistent. Processing technologies for edible jellyfish have not advanced, and present major concerns for environmental and human health. Presented here is the first global assessment of jellyfish fisheries, including identification of countries that catch jellyfish, as well as which species are targeted. A global catch reconstruction is performed for jellyfish landings from 1950 to 2013, as well as an estimate of mean contemporary catches. Results reveal that all investigated aspects of jellyfish fisheries have been underestimated, including the number of fishing countries, the number of targeted species, and the magnitudes of catches. Contemporary global landings of jellyfish are at least 750,000 tonnes annually, more than double previous estimates. Jellyfish have historically been understudied, resulting in the current dearth of knowledge on population dynamics and jellyfish fishery management. However, many of the tools used in traditional fisheries science, such as length-frequency analysis, can be applied to jellyfish, as demonstrated herein. Research priorities are identified, along with a prospective outlook on the future of jellyfish fisheries.

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