Ocean giants identified in Ireland that eat up to 147 jellyfish a day

Ocean giants identified in Ireland that eat up to 147 jellyfish a day

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Outsider Magazine

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college, cork, jellyfish, "ocean giant", sunfish, university

New research has revealed that the largest bony fish in the world are found in Irish waters year round and we should be grateful to them for cutting the numbers of jellyfish in the sea. It was previously thought that ocean sunfish only visited Irish waters on rare occasions.


A study by University College Cork has identified more than 12,000 sunfish off the Irish coast during the summer months, with that number declining by about a third over winter. They’re the largest bony fish in the world and can grow to up to three metres long and weigh up to a tonne or two!

 

The research has found they play an important role in controlling the number of jellyfish and other sea creatures found around Ireland, as they eat up to 147 jellyfish a day. They have huge appetites consuming up to 2,600 tonnes every day. That’s definitely reassuring for those of us who love water-based activities like sailing or swimming but don’t love jellies!



 

UCC carried out a number of aerial surveys between June 2015 and February 2017 covering around 300,000 square kilometres off the northeast Atlantic coast. Their aim was to track the movements of the ocean sunfish and other marine creatures and seabirds. 

 

The sunfish swim just under the surface of the ocean, quite like basking sharks. Their important role in controlling jellyfish outbreaks in the Irish marine ecosystem was unknown up until now.

 

Those behind the study believe it’s important to protect and conserve the Irish population of sunfish to maintain this role. It’s understood they are often bycatch in fisheries.


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Ocean giants identified in Ireland that eat up to 147 jellyfish a day

New research has revealed that the largest bony fish in the world are found in Irish waters year round and we should be grateful to them for cutting the numbers of jellyfish in the sea. It was previously thought that ocean sunfish only visited Irish waters on rare occasions.

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