Sat, Jan 13, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Upside-down jellies find way back to Kaohsiung

NATURAL ORDER:The creatures, which depend on photosynthesis for energy, were driven away by waste flows from industry and fish, which kick up clouds of dust

By Hung Chen-hung and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Upside-down jellyfish are gathered at Kaohsiung Linyuan District’s Marine Wetlands Park on Thursday.

Photo: Hung Chen-hung, Taipei Times

Kaohsiung’s Marine Wetlands Park in the city’s Linyuan District (林園) yesterday announced that upside-down jellyfish, once the main attraction of its coastal lagoons, have returned.

The upside-down jellyfish did not appear in the park’s lagoons between 2016 and last year because industrial waste was dumped into the lagoons, park officials said.

The wetlands park once had the only lagoon where up to 10,000 jellyfish would congregate, the park said, adding that many former school children undoubtedly have fond memories of their field trips to the area.

However, industrial pollution drove away the jellyfish and caused a drastic drop in the number of visitors, the park said.

The Linyuan District Mangrove Conservation Society, which works with the park, is now taking reservations for group tours, society director-general Su Wen-hua (蘇文華) said.

“According to our observations, the number of jellyfish is at its lowest from June to August and slowly increases starting each September,” Su said.

January and February are the creatures’ breeding season and the best period for observing the jellyfish, Su added.

Outside the park, jellyfish have also been spotted in ditches in the district’s Gangpu (港埔) and Shanwei (汕尾) areas and there have been sightings of sea anemones, Su said.

This is due to pumps drawing in the jellyfish and sea anemones when local aquaculture farmers are piping in saltwater for their ponds, Su said.

A thicker layer of sediment at the bottom of the lagoons could be one of the reasons why the population of jellyfish cannot compare with its peak of 10,000, Su said.

The number of fish in the lagoons and the sediment kicked up when fish swim around is also not conducive to the growth of jellyfish, Su said.

His organization hopes to work with the park to create a suitable habitat for the jellyfish, Su said, adding that one method would be to artificially change the direction of the current to wash away the sediment.

The mangrove society and the park would also call for volunteers to regularly clean the algae off the lagoon’s surface to help photosynthesis inside the jellyfish, Su said.

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