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Jellyfish Take Over an Over-Fished Area

Critics of the fishing industry have long predicted that if over-fishing continues for much longer, "junk species" like jellyfish will start filling up the vacancies.

Until recently, there was no evidence that the prediction would come true. But along the coast of Southern Africa, famously productive fisheries have crashed in recent years. In a new paper, English scientists say the spot on the food chain long occupied by these fish has now been filled by the largest jellyfish boom ever measured.

These jellyfish are said to be so dense that they cause trawling nets to burst at the seams.

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John Nielsen
John Nielsen covers environmental issues for NPR. His reports air regularly on NPR's award-winning news magazines, All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition. He also prepares documentaries for the NPR/National Geographic Radio Expeditions series, which is heard regularly on Morning Edition. Nielsen also occasionally serves as the substitute host for several NPR News programs.