Bangladesh ponders mystery of giant jellyfish carcasses washed up on its shore
Hundreds of dead jellyfish weighing 10 to 15 kilograms have been spotted washed up on Cox’s Bazar beach in Bangladesh since the end of a government-imposed fishing ban in the Bay of Bengal.
The unusual death of sea creatures in such large numbers has raised concerns among experts and officials.
Following the 65-day fishing ban, which aimed to ensure a safe environment for the fish during their breeding season, more than 4,000 fishing boats have entered the sea since July 23 to catch fish like hilsa, a kind of Indian herring.
Deepak Sharma, chairman of Cox’s Bazar Forest and Environmental Conservation Council, told Anadolu Agency that jellyfish often die in small numbers in winter, but it’s unusual during the rainy season or the fishing season.
“We had seen the dead jellyfish floating ashore soon after the government fishing ban ended and hundreds of fishing boats sailed into the Bay of Bengal. We suspect the sea creatures were caught in the deep sea fishing nets and died and floated to the beach,” Sharma said.
“Fishermen do not collect or sell jellyfish caught in fishing nets. On the contrary, they release them into the sea, whether they are alive or dead.
The number of dead jellyfish has declined this week, however, he said, adding that sea pollution could also be among the causes.
Pollution in the Bay of Bengal is a risk for marine ecology
Fazlul Quader Chowdhury, a resident of Cox’s Bazar district and chairman of Cox’s Bazar branch of the Bangladesh Environment Movement (BAPA), told Anadolu Agency that he visited Cox’s Bazar, the country’s tourist hub, and found hundreds of dead jellyfish on the beach last time. Thursday.
“We, the people of Cox’s Bazar near the beach, have never witnessed jellyfish die in such large numbers,” he noted.
“So many unscrupulous people are dumping waste into the Bay of Bengal, which continues to pollute it and the largest sea beach in the world. Meanwhile, we have evidence of dumping of rubbish on the Bangladesh shipping line by Myanmar as rubbish was floating on the beach recently. All of this causes pollution of the sea and endangers the marine ecology,” Chowdhury said.
“This sea creature lives in a distinct area and ecology on the high seas. We do not report any deaths of other fish floating on the shore. We must therefore conduct an investigation on the high seas engaging the nation’s naval force to find out if there is pollution or an ecological imbalance,” the environmental rights activist added.
Bangladesh is the 10th worst country in the world in terms of waste management and dumps waste into the Bay of Bengal.
Recently, a number of deep-sea whales and dolphins have been found dead on land, which means the Bay of Bengal is heavily polluted. Such pollution also poses a growing threat to the country’s “blue economy” policy, which offers the country huge opportunities and potential, experts say.
Chowdhury disagreed with the 65-day fishing ban, saying it did not help anyone except Indian and Burmese fishermen as they continue to cross Bangladesh’s sea border and are often arrested by the Bangladesh Coast Guard for illegal entry and fishing.
The Bangladesh Coast Guard recently released Indian fishermen after they were caught in the act of breaching the country’s maritime border to fish.
Navy officials launch investigation
The Bangladesh Marine Research Institute took samples from the beach. They said it could cause various problems, including itching, if people come into contact with the box jellyfish carcasses.
Abu Syed Md Sharif, a senior officer at the Bangladesh Ocean Research Institute, told Anadolu Agency that like other species of fish and sea creatures, jellyfish also increased during the breeding season and during the 65-day fishing ban in the Bay of Bengal.
However, after the ban was lifted, hundreds of fishing trawlers entered the sea, he said.
“We suspect the jellyfish died after being caught in fishermen’s nets and then floating to shore in the tidal waters. We made another visit to the Bay of Bengal on Sunday and conducted an investigation to investigate more about the situation.
“Fishermen typically keep their fishing nets on the high seas for six uninterrupted hours while fishing. And if jellyfish get caught in those fishing nets, they die, because they couldn’t survive in such a strangling situation,” Sharif said.
“We haven’t reported any live jellyfish floating on the beach, so we don’t think sea pollution is the cause of their death.
“We have, however, taken the incident seriously and have begun to examine the situation to find out whether sea pollution or other causes are behind the floating dead jellyfish incident,” he said. added.
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