Eating jellyfish will not save fish stocks: a conversation gone wrong

By: Jack O'Donovan
Date posted: 20 April 2018

Communicating is always difficult, but when it comes to science it can get truly challenging. Several newspapers have reported this morning that we are encouraging people to eat jellyfish to save dwindling fish stocks.

Could we eat jellyfish? We could. But like any other fishery, it would require careful management”.

Dr Peter Richardson,
Head of Ocean Recovery
MCS

Before we spark a new culinary fashion (“Jellyfish and Chips”) we wanted to issue a correction, as one of our experts was clearly misquoted.

As amusing as the results can be, we must make sure the misunderstanding is not distributed far and wide at the “speed of web”.

So here’s what happened. Our Head of Ocean Recovery Dr. Peter Richardson was asked in a telephone interview yesterday: could we eat jellyfish?

His response; “Yes, we could” and since jellyfish are eaten elsewhere in the world, he added “however, Brits are very conservative in their palates so they would take some convincing! In other countries people are more adventurous and happily eat jellyfish.”

In the telephone interview Dr. Richardson went on to carefully explain that jellyfish populations are very boom and bust so no one in the UK has worked out how to harvest them for food yet, but it could be done.

There are in fact already two companies in South Wales who are harvesting barrel jellyfish to extract collagen from them, however if jellyfish harvesting increases, Dr. Richardson stressed that “like any other fishery, it would require careful management”.

Improving the sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture is something the MCS has long worked on and continues to do so through engaging on fisheries policy, and encouraging businesses and consumers to make responsible seafood choices.

This work is underpinned by our Good Fish Guide where we provide over 650 sustainability ratings for over 150 different seafood species. Jellyfish aren’t among these yet, but might be one day.

Ensuring our fisheries and fish farms are sustainable is of the utmost importance for ocean health, and is essential for creating seas full of life - where nature flourishes and people thrive.

Actions you can take

  1. Download the Good Fish Guide .pdf
  2. Download our award winning 'Good Fish Guide App'.
  3. Download our Jellyfish Guide
  4. View the Good Fish Guide online

Did you know?…

21.7 million tonnes of wild caught fish are not for people to eat; almost 75% of this is to feed farmed fish

Over 3,000 sq km of our seabed is now protected from bottom-towed gear

A estimated £1.1 billion is spent on fish and chips every year in the UK

Help protect 40% of English seas

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