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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 November 2007, 20:57 GMT
Jellyfish attack destroys salmon
The density of jellyfish stopped workers from reaching cages

A jellyfish invasion has wiped out Northern Ireland's only salmon farm, killing more than 100,000 fish.

A Northern Salmon spokesman said last week's attack could cost more than 1m.

Billions of small jellyfish, known as Mauve Stingers, flooded into the cages about a mile into the Irish Sea, off Glenarm Bay and Cushendun.

The jellyfish covered an area of up to 10 square miles and a depth of 35 feet. Rescuers tried to reach the cages but the density of fish made it impossible.

Managing director John Russell said he had never seen anything like this in 30 years in the business.

Jellyfish in a jar
It could take at least two years for the firm to recover
"The sea was red with these jellyfish and there was nothing we could do about, it, absolutely nothing," he said.

"It's a disaster for this company - you cannot legislate for something like this."

He says the firm could take at least two years to recover.

The company has some high-profile clients, with Irish chef Richard Corrigan serving Glenarm salmon to the Queen on her 80th birthday last year as part of the BBC's Great British Menu programme.

The Department of Agriculture's fisheries division has carried out a full investigation, and talks with NI Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew have taken place to try to rescue the farm and save the jobs of 12 staff.

Footage of the jellyfish

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21 Aug 07 |  Cornwall
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