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575k Euro Grant to Study Impact of Jellyfish

WALES, UK - Scientists in Wales have been awarded a 575,000 European grant to study the impact of jellyfish on aquaculture, tourism and fisheries.

According to the Daily Post, the joint Welsh-Irish project will be run at Swansea and Cork universities to research how climate change and over-fishing are causing jellyfish to thrive and the repercussions this may have on the economy.

The four-year scheme is the first to be approved under the EUs Ireland/Wales programme and will receive 575,000 through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), reports the Daily Post.

Experts will tag jellyfish to explore the effect increased populations are having on tourism, aquaculture and fisheries.

Deputy first minister Ieuan Wyn Jones said rising jellyfish populations were having a real impact: In November North-ern Irelands only salmon farm was wiped out by an invasion of jellyfish, killing 100,000 fish. They are also thought to be affecting tourism through beach closures.

However, their abundance may also provide an opportun-ity. They could provide an eco-tourist attraction for recre-ational divers. The study will also explore the potential of harvesting jellyfish in a sus-tainable way for food to export to Asian markets.

Prof Graeme Hays, head of environmental and molecular biosciences at Swansea Univer-sity, told the news agency: The EcoJel project will allow a broad-scale assess-ment of the ecosystem role of jellyfish in the Irish Sea and will help to inform manage-ment decisions for this area.

Ellen Hardy

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