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Cosmetics industry use of jellyfish can help falling fish stocks to recover

By Michelle Yeomans+

03-Jun-2013
Last updated on 03-Jun-2013 at 17:13 GMT2013-06-03T17:13:37Z

Cosmetics industry use of jellyfish can help falling fish stocks to recover

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization is calling for the cosmetics industry to use more jellyfish in formulations as over-fishing in the Mediterranean is boosting their numbers, thereby reducing fish stocks further.

The FAO compiled a report that found a 'vicious circle' of jellyfish to be feeding on fish larvae and young fish which is reducing the resilience of fish populations, an issue they reckon, can be reduced by the likes of the cosmetics industry opting to use the invertebrate sea animal more.

"Fish stocks have still not recovered from a surge in the Pelagia jellyfish in the Adriatic 20-30 years ago. The jellyfish then feed on fish larvae and young fish further reducing the resilience of fish populations."

Anti-aging properties

In its bid to convince the industry of it being able to help, 'Review of Jellyfish Blooms in the Mediterranean and Black Sea' points to the discovery of an 'immortal jellyfish', Turritopsis nutricula; which the authors say has been found to be capable of reversing the aging process.

"It holds out the promise of developing powerful rejuvenation products for humans."

The experts also warned that jellyfish could supplant fish in the world's oceans if the current trend continues which could result in a global regime shift from a fish to a 'jellyfish ocean'.

"More recently, a 26 square kilometres swarm of the jellyfish wiped out a 100,000 fish salmon farm in Northern Ireland causing some 1.5 million dollars worth of damage."

Research already underway in this area  

Aside from Europe, other countries going through similar struggles are China and Japan, whose governments are urging increasing public consumption of jellyfish by-products such as edibles and cosmetics.

Just last year the government in South Korea revealed it had a novel plan to fight the on-going jellyfish the country suffers from by using their collagen extracts in cosmetics. 

Then, the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries explained that it would try to eliminate the on-going problems Koreans have with jellyfish, by getting scientists to find ways to extract collagen from the sea creature and use it in cosmetics.

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