Jellyfishing in europe: Current status, knowledge gaps, and future directions towards a sustainable practice

Dori Edelist, Dror L. Angel, João Canning-clode, Sonia K.M. Gueroun, Nicole Aberle, Jamileh Javidpour, Carlos Andrade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Jellyfish are often described as a nuisance species, but as our understanding shifts to more ecosystem-based conceptions, they are also recognized as both important components of marine ecosystems and a resource for humans. Here, we describe global jellyfish fisheries and review production, fishing methods, and applications based on the existing literature. We then focus on future development of a European jellyfish fishery based on current and recent EU research initiatives. Jellyfish have been a staple food in East Asia for eons and now show a potential for non-food applications as well. The main fishing methods are mostly traditional, with set-nets, driftnets, hand-nets, and scoop-nets utilizing small crafts or beach-seines. All require a lot of manual labor, thus providing vital, albeit seasonal, occupation to weaker populations. Larger commercial vessels such as purse seines and trawlers are newly introduced métiers which may enable a larger catch per unit effort and total catch, but pose questions of selectivity, bycatch, vessel stability, and transshipment. Social concerns arising from the seasonality of jellyfish fisheries must be met in SE Asia, Latin America, and in any location where new fisheries are established. In the EU, we recognize at least 15 species showing potential for commercial harvesting, but as of 2021, a commercial fishery has yet to be developed; as in finfish fisheries, we advise caution and recognition of the role of jellyfish in marine ecosystems in doing so. Sustainable harvesting techniques and practices must be developed and implemented for a viable practice to emerge, and social and ecological needs must also be incorporated into the management plan. Once established, the catch, effort, and stock status must be monitored, regulated, and properly reported to FAO by countries seeking a viable jellyfish fishery. In the near future, novel applications for jellyfish will offer added value and new markets for this traditional resource.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12445
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number22
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by the GoJelly Project, EU Horizon 2020, grant number [774499].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Blue growth
  • European Union
  • Fisheries
  • Jellyfish
  • Jellyfishing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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