Jellyfish blooms in the Northern Adriatic Sea: Fishermen’s perceptions and economic impacts on fisheries

Maria Giovanna Palmieri, Alberto Barausse, Tiziana Luisetti, Kerry Turner

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46 Citations (Scopus)


Extensive blooms of gelatinous macrozooplankton species (“Jellyfish”) have appeared in recent decadesin Northern Adriatic (NA) waters. Anecdotal evidence suggests that these blooms have had a considerableimpact on fishing operations, as this region is one of the most heavily exploited Mediterranean fishinggrounds. In order to gain a better understanding of the possible economic losses for the Italian NA fishingindustry due to jellyfish impacts, we conducted a survey of fishermen in the city of Chioggia, whichis the main fishing port for the NA basin. The study focused on fishermen’s perceptions about jellyfishblooms in the NA Sea and also investigated whether and how blooms compromised fishing operations.Survey results confirm that blooms have negatively affected fishing operations in the last few decades.We estimate that economic losses due to reduction in fish catches could amount to as much as D 8.2million per year for the Italian NA trawling fleet. Other costs on this fleet include additional fuel costs dueto displacement of fishing operations, which could represent an increase in costs of over D 460,000 peryear. Moreover, during a jellyfish bloom episode it can happen that time has to be spent by fishermento repair nets damaged by jellyfish caught in them, leading to an estimated cost for the trawling fleetand small scale fisheries of over 89,000 man-hours per year. This study not only confirms that jellyfishblooms have a considerable impact on fishing operations but also shows how costly blooms can be forthe NA fisheries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51–58
Number of pages8
JournalFisheries Research
Early online date20 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


  • Northern Adriatic
  • Fisheries
  • Jellyfish bloom
  • Economic impacts

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