We should eat more jellyfish if we want to save the planet, new research says.
Scientists at the University of Queensland, Australia say we should grow consumption of jellyfish worldwide, to protect endangered fish species and to protect sea conservation efforts.
Research has found that 91 globally threatened fish species are legally caught on an industrial scale. About 15% of these species are traded internationally, mainly for consumption throughout the European continent.
If we want to continue to eat seafood, the industrial harvest must be geared towards more sustainable consumption, according to the Queensland team. Jellyfish have been an essential part of kitchens for over 1,700 years, but they are not yet a major source of protein worldwide.
A highly renewable species
“Due to the specific way jellyfish reproduce, their fishing is more sustainable than that of fish,” said Lisa-Ann Gershwin, a marine biologist.
“Jellyfish have a life cycle that the more you ask for, the more it produces, like the apples of a tree.”
Gershwin describes the species as “renewable”, which means that there is a much lower level of concern about overfishing or depletion of fish stocks. Jellyfish are also healthy for a human diet, with almost zero calories, but a large amount of protein.
At 75 grams, there are only 36 calories – much like an iceberg lettuce – but almost four grams of protein.
The taste is apparently non-existent, taking over instead the aroma of the sauce or spices with which the jellyfish are served.
Although the taste is explored more in areas of Asia, as we move towards more sustainable food sources, we could soon see the culinary experience in Europe as well.