Young (0-group) gadoid fish, which have been observed sheltering beneath jellyfish (Scyphozoa and Hydrozoa) umbrellas, may find refugia from predation by retreating among medusan tentacles. The survival of juvenile gadoids may therefore be improved by high abundances of medusae. Jellyfish (including Cyanea lamarckii and C. capillata) were caught in the North Sea during routine sampling for 0-group gadoids (cod Gadus morhua, haddock Melanogrammus aeglefinus, Norway pout Trisopterus esmarkii and whiting Merlangius merlangus) between 1971 and 1986, and considerable overlaps have been shown between the spatial distributions of these fish and medusae. Here correlations are made between the abundance of medusae in the North Sea and the residual survival of 0-group fish, as quantified by the deviation in 1-group recruitment from the expected Ricker modelled estimate. Significant positive correlations between the residual survival of whiting and medusa abundance are evident for each individual Cyanea sp. and for the combined Cyanea spp. ln(maximum) abundance (all R >= 0.60, P < 0.01, N = 15). The abundance of jellyfish may thus be an important factor influencing the mortality of whiting in the North Sea, and as such should be considered in the development of 'ecosystem-based' management of whiting stocks.