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Global Ideas

Tunisia’s tussle with jellyfish

Jellyfish outbreaks in the Mediterranean often scare off tourists and affect marine life. In Tunisia, scientists are working with fishermen to install nets, track the creatures as well as make it lucrative to catch them.

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Project goal: research and prevent jellyfish outbreaks in the Mediterranean Sea
Type: a cross-border project called Med-Jellyrisk funded by the European Union and partner institutes from Italy, Malta, Spain and Tunisia
Implementation: Using nets to create safety zones for tourists as well as minimize impact of jellyfish populations on other marine life. In addition, making it lucrative for fishermen to catch and sell jellyfish for use in the cosmetics industry
Budget: 2.6 million Euros for the entire project

The Mediterranean Sea is carpeted with jellyfish during summer, scaring off tourists and affecting local fishermen. An invasive species of jellyfish is proving to be the biggest problem. In Tunisia, the situation has become so serious that a European Union project is working with the country to find a sustainable solution. Marine biologists are casting nets at a depth of 3.5 meters in the sea to trap the slimy unwelcome guests and prevent them from reaching other marine life and tourist beaches. Tunisia also wants to put the jellyfish menace to good use. Scientists are extracting collagen substances from the fish that can be used for the cosmetics industry. It's hoped that could offer a financial incentive for fishermen to catch the creatures.

A film by Julia Henrichmann

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