New Mediterranean jellyfish invasions are causing big problems for coastal power plants
Ever since new species of jellyfish, such as one known as Marvigaria Stellata began to appear in the Mediterranean, numerous warnings have been issued by media sides concerning this “plague” that is getting worse. Some say this partially being attributed to global warming. Jellyfish have been residents of the Mediterranean for years – and many entered the invasive mode after the Suez Canal was open, allowing them to seep in from the Red Sea. Every year, great numbers of them wash up on various beaches in both Israel and Lebanon, and previous Green Prophet articles have even offered tips on how to deal with the gelatinous blobs that to some people are very painful if stung by them.
Cleaning up the mess, a 27/7 ongoing operation
One species in particular, a relatively new one to the “Med” is causing a lot of headaches to employees of Israel’s Hadera Electric Power Plant, according to an article published a few days ago in the Jerusalem Post.
The article, entitled Photo Gallery: Attack of the Jellyfish
reports that the new species is one of four alien jellyfish species said to have come into the Mediterranean from the Suez Canal. Although not a threat to humans, the jellyfish are being sucked into the filters for the plant’s sea water intakes. They clog up the mesh filters and have to be cleaned from them constantly, according to plant spokesmen.
The invasion of the jellyfish is just one on a number of ecological problems plaguing the Mediterranean, some of which include large amounts of plastic material and other debris, some which also clogs up the plants water intake filters.
According to marine biologists, two of the main reasons for such a large number of jellyfish are global warming causing sea temperatures to rise and resulting in a reduction of some fish species; and over-fishing which eliminates many of the jellyfish’s natural predators.
Recent jellyfish attacks to the power plant mesh filters has been so bad that according to Dr. Anat Glazer, the Israel Electric Corporation’s marine ecologist, the mechanical rakes used to clean the filters “have to be in operation 24 hours a day”.
Results of one day’s jellyfish ‘raking’
The outlook is not very optimistic, due mainly to the previously mentioned reasons. The jellyfish lay “thousands of eggs” and when mature, the jellyfish simply float on the currents and wind up virtually everywhere, including beaches and of course the power plants.
Dr. Bella Gallil, a senior researcher for the Institute of Oceanography, says that:
“Once jellyfish become dominant in a region, annual cycles of strong jellyfish production may inhibit the revival of some depleted fish stocks since they routinely compete for plankton prey with juvenile, and many adult, pelagic fish.”
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