Growing Jellyfish Population

Tanvi Gupta

1. Article MLA Citation

Cripps, Karla. "Jellyfish Taking over Oceans, Experts Warn -" CNN. Cable News Network, 7 Nov. 2013. Web. 10 Feb. 2015.

2. Summary Paragraph

The article I am discussing is an opinion piece. The author, Karla Cripps, discusses the exceptionally large rising of the jellyfish population around the world. Her article mostly shares information and statistics of this phenomenon, but she does not take a particular viewpoint. Instead, she cites scientists and environmentalists and discusses their perspectives.

Recently, there have been huge increases in the jellyfish “bloom” activity all around the world and the jellyfish population is proliferating at a rapid rate. The jellyfish population is beginning to threaten humans and other species in the oceans. “In Hawaii there have been times that 800 or 1,000 people have been stung in a day” and in Sweden a nuclear plant had to be manually shut down because of jellyfish inhibition. Jellyfish in Ireland have also reportedly killed thousands of farmed salmon—the salmon that we eat.

Scientists suspect that the cause of this rapid growth is a human-caused result of overfishing, warming water temperatures, and pollution. By fishing out jellyfish predators and competitors, humans are creating perfect conditions for jellyfish to multiply. The warming water temperatures and pollution that we cause force the jellyfish to move from their natural habitats, and this is why we see so many more on coastal shores. Our ocean is out of balance because of our practices.

Many environmentalists believe that the situation is so out of hand that we cannot turn things around, and the article ends with a thought provoking quote, “I believe that our only option now is to decide how much we value what we currently have, and to decide what we are willing to do to maintain it -- or at least slow down its disappearance. But honestly, can you really see all 7 billion of us agreeing on that?”

3. Ethical Issues

There is a wide range of opinions on this issue; some people believe that it is important to fix this situation, and others want to leave it alone because too much damage has already been done. Those who take a conservationist approach say that we should try to eradicate the jellyfish because they are hurting humans and other animals in the sea. However, this would only allow for another organism to take advantage of this and a new problem could arise. Others argue that jellyfish hold an instrumental value and taking them out because of their large numbers could only worsen the dynamic in the ocean. Those who are against decreasing the jellyfish population argue that even their growth is our fault, we must deal with the consequences because it is unethical to kill them.

4. My Position

My position would be not to kill or decrease the jellyfish population in the oceans, because it is difficult to take into account all of the stakeholders in the situation. We cannot know for sure what a drastic change like this could do to the ocean’s dynamic. I think that the best way to fix this situation is to address the problem that started it. Overfishing and pollution are both things we, humans, did to increase the jellyfish population. By fishing out less of the important fish that help stabilize the jellyfish population, and by trying to lessen the amount of pollution that we add to the ocean, we could possibly stabilize the living conditions that the jellyfish need. This could help in curbing the huge population that continues to grow everyday.

Discussion Question:

What do you think can we do to fix this situation? Is it ethical to kill these large numbers of jellyfish because they are hurting us and other species in the ocean? Is it even worth attempting to fix this situation because it has already gotten so bad?