The GoJelly! project has taken me to South Africa now – Cape Town specifically! I was one of the convenors of the session on the Human-Jellyfish Nexus where the aim of the session was to place jellyfish within a larger system – namely the socio-ecological system – and bring attention to its effect – and possibility as use as a resource.
I had the honor of kicking off the session with discussing GoJelly results from WP7 (Socio-Ecological System and Games), specifically the results from the questionnaire that was sent out throughout Europe in autumn of 2018. This questionnaire, which was distributed in 8 different languages and sent out via Facebook and Twitter primarily, had 837 respondents and had most responses from Norway (22%), Slovenia (22.65%), Germany (18.15%) and Portugal (16.02%). I also put this into context with some results from the workshops and in-depth interviews that took place from 2018-2019, where in total 242 interviewees participated.
In addition to my talk, the session included talks on jellyfish stings, socio-economics (fisheries and aquaculture), early warning systems, management and applications in different products. The session was well attended and Cooridnator Jamileh Javidpour closed the session by calling for more sessions like these during the next meeting.
A key issue I wanted to bring home was i the context of many people calling for an end to discussing jellyfish blooms as something negative – because long term data shows that there have been no continuous increase in jellyfish blooms or populations globally but that it is cyclical. My point was to compare this to global economic growth – which – though impressive – matters nothing to those that are starving to death or are watching their children die of easily treatable illnessses because they cannot afford medicine. In other words – even though there on avearge are no dangerous jellyfish blooms – there are pockets of blooms all over the world where the effects are dramatic and tragic – even with death as results. Telling a commercial fisher in the inner Trondheimsfjord that there are no blooms globally, he or she would shake their head – because they ARE experiencing blooms.