Palluruthi: Fishermen have been facing myriad problems of late. Apart from decreasing catch, those out in the seas have to be alert to rogue ships and unforeseen weather patterns. Even those resorting to inland fishing have their own set of problems and one being the influx of jellyfish. Fishermen active in the backwaters of Kochi have been facing the menace of jellyfish which damage their nets after getting trapped.
The jellyfish or sea jellies have been found in large numbers for the past one month in the backwaters of Kumbalanghi, Edakochi and Palluruthi in Kochi. Jellyfish weighing from 1 kilogram to 6 kg are invading the backwaters on a large scale from the sea.
These marine creatures pose a severe threat to fishing as they get caught in the fishing nets. The unlucky fishermen have to struggle for hours to release the jellyfish that get entangled in the nets. Both the Chinese fishing nets and the ordinary ‘neettuvala’ (seine nets) can get extensively damaged by the stinging tentacles of these sea creatures.
The backwaters have already been facing an acute shortage of fish in this season. Along with that, the damage caused by the jellyfish has added to the woes of the fishermen.
Jellyfish have tentacles as in octopuses to facilitate movement. Some species of jellyfish are consumed as delicacies in Asian countries like Japan, China and Thailand.
The reason for this large influx of marine creatures into the backwaters is said to be the rise in the salinity of the backwaters during summer. The presence of jellyfish in the backwaters would decrease only with the decrease in salinity when the monsoon rains get stronger.