An overwhelming attack by billions of jellyfish has wiped out the entire stock of Northern Ireland's only salmon farm - some 100,000 fish worth £2m, AP reports.
The "dense pack" of mauve stingers, covering ten square miles to a depth of 35 feet*, last week swamped the two net pens holding the salmon about a mile off the coast of the Glens of Antrim. Employees of the The Northern Salmon Co Ltd battled for hours in three boats to force a way through the jelly-hordes, only to find the fish already dead or dying of stings and stress.
The company's MD, John Russell, said: "It was unprecedented, absolutely amazing. The sea was red with these jellyfish and there was nothing we could do about it, absolutely nothing."
The mauve stinger, aka Pelagia nocticula, is, AP notes, well known for its "purplish night-time glow and its propensity for terrorising bathers in the warmer Mediterranean Sea". However, it is only in the last ten years it been spotted so far north, something scientists attribute to global warming.
The Northern Salmon Co, which exports its organic product to Europe and the US, now faces closure if it doesn't get emergency government aid, Russell said. ®
*No, we don't know what that is in cubic furlongs - we'll leave it to you lot to do the maths.