Giant cannibal shrimp worry Gulf Coast watchers
Black tiger shrimp may pose a huge problem for the Gulf Coast shrimp and oyster industry, an expert says.
December 16th, 2011
01:22 PM ET

Giant cannibal shrimp worry Gulf Coast watchers

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the Gulf of Mexico, a new menace, this one striped like a big cat, is preying on aquatic life: The black tiger shrimp.

The biggest saltwater shrimp in the world, black tigers “are cannibalistic as are other shrimp but it’s larger so it can consume the others,” Tony Reisinger, country extension agent for the Texas Sea Grant Extension Service, told CNN on Friday.

Because of the threat of disease, the predatory intruder poses a problem for the native shrimp and oyster population of the Gulf, Reisinger said.

"Our oystermen right now are hurting because the oyster season is shut down due to a red tide. But this (black tiger) shrimp poses other concerns,” he said.

Appearing more than 25 years ago, the black tiger’s sudden reappearance is a mystery.

“The first time they started appearing was in the late 1980s on the East Coast,” he said. “Then they disappeared in 1991.”

But following the record-breaking hurricane season of 2005, which brought successive monster storms Katrina, Rita and Wilma, they started showing up again, he said.

“They’re well over 1,000 of them in the Gulf of Mexico now,” he said. “We’ve had five of them caught off Texas.”

Reisinger said he spoke to the Brownsville-Port Isabel Shrimp Producers Association recently to warn them about the shrimp but he was too late.

“It turns our fishermen have been catching them for a while, but they didn’t think they were marketable so they were throwing them back,” he said.

Is there a harvestable population already established in the Gulf? What does that mean for the Louisiana and South Texas shrimp and oyster industry? Many questions remain, Reisinger said.

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Filed under: Animals • Texas
soundoff (484 Responses)
  1. James 'Jim' Oss

    Eat 'em.

    December 17, 2011 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  2. Pete/Ark

    "Giant...shrimp"- best oxymoron headline of the week.

    December 17, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Forgot Password

      *Peter/Ark* -

      tee hee hee!

      December 17, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. OregonTom

    We better catch all those lil suckers.

    December 17, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ┴┴∩И╛╛∩Я ( ½ ELF slayer & ½ BUGBEAR KILLER )

    shrimp stuffed shrimp...mmm.. delicious..

    December 17, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. max

    Sure I like the oily taste of these atttractive creatures.

    December 17, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Francis Koblak

    Why are they not marketable.? they do the same thing as crabs they eat every thing on the bottom.

    December 17, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Chester Drawer

    Those shrimp are GOOD! Casinos used to serve them on buffets. Harvey's Casino on South Lake Tahoe, Southshore, used to include them in their $4.95 per person all-you-can-eat buffet. They were colored just like that one. Only the tail was served, like any other shrimp. Take a forkful of this boy and dip it in hot lemon butter sauce and wash it down with one of those Harvey's Marguerita slushies was just Heaven! If I was shrimpin on the Gulf, I would save every one I could catch and freeze them in...then send my son in a pickup truck with a freezer on the back to restaurants all over. Would give our local restaurant boys and girls in Houston, Corpus, Galveston, New Orleans and Baton Rouge first shot. Betcha Paul Prudhomme's places would not turn down a delicacy like this!

    December 17, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. john wilson

    send me about 1000 lbs their great yum yum

    December 17, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. dee

    Give me some melted butter, a big bowl and some cheddar biscuits and I will take care of them.

    December 17, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. shrimp eater

    This tiger shrimp is a good eating shrimp. Just display this shrimp at oriental market it will be gone in no time. You can fried it, steam it, BBQ it, grill it, batter it, bread coat it, Mayo it. wasabi it. chili sauce it, bake it, tom yum soup it, ramen soup it, stir fried it, fried rice it, honey lemon it, noodle wrap it......

    December 18, 2011 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
    • another shrimp eater

      you clever shrimp eater you

      "What were you expecting, lobster??" – Michael G. Scott.

      December 19, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  11. jklapper

    Huh? Black tiger Shrimp are considered a delicacy last I checked...

    December 18, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Nate Cloutier

    I say market them who cares about the little ones when you have huge ones like these. The bigger the shrimp the more money that can go into the economy, i say get some butter and serve em up.

    December 19, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  13. Nate Cloutier

    also. id like to say Subway could market them one shrimp per sandwhich Five Dollar foot Long haha :D

    December 19, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  14. Call me a Skeptic

    Call me a skeptic, but I won't eat anything that dwells on the floor of the gulf of mexico. Oil and Dispersements from the oil spill have contaminated a lot of the seafood that still remains.

    December 19, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. FormerNYer

    Yumm!

    December 19, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
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