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. Livelystone

    LOL... looks like this is going to become the year of fat and tasty snook.

    For sure they will like eating these shrimp

    December 16, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bogus

    Its only 5 inches long. I dont call that a monster.

    December 16, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Bogus, please adjust your eyewear. The photograph depicts a foot-long shrimp.

      December 16, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • sillybean

      5? You mean 12 don't you?

      December 16, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • sillybean

      This is the type of person that misinterprets the evidence EVEN when it's clear and there are pictures. Are your shoes velcro? They should be.

      December 16, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • brico

      what picture of a shrimp next to a ruller are YOU looking at? i clearly see it being 12" long.

      December 16, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Doe

      Shine your glasses pal, it's almost over 12inches...

      December 16, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • craw

      It is over a foot long (12 inches)

      December 16, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Williams

      """Are your shoes velcro? They should be."""

      LOL Sillybean!

      December 16, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • 286

      It's a foot long

      December 16, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • PulTab

      ROLMAO

      December 16, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      Vision problems? That ruler clearly shows the shrimp is 12 inches (1 foot) long. That's a pretty large shrimp.

      December 16, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • xfnte

      He's talking about the edible portion.

      December 16, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shrimpy Scampers

      Regardless of what your lady friends say Bogus, the article is about the SHRIMP!

      December 16, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Golf Cart Jim

      It looks 12 inches to me . . . you must not know how to read a ruler ?

      December 16, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Big swinging D

      Ok,You can now stop talking about my mr happy

      December 16, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • chronmom

      You guys are sloooowwwwwww.
      I don't believe he's talking about the shrimp.

      December 16, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Big swinging D

      I believe bogus is referring to his shrimp , and you're right 5 inches is a mouse not a monster

      December 16, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Duane

    WOW wonder how they taste.

    December 16, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dennis

      I ate shrimp this big in the Philippines when I was stationed at Clark Air Base. They were delicious!

      December 16, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. RO

    and they keep tellin gus it's safe and all that jazz, doubtful!...

    December 16, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. silly

    Exactly! Are they tastey?

    December 16, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Time Bandit

    Here's how they got into the ecosystem, this article was 2 years ago: http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20090916/ARTICLES/909169972?p=1&tc=pg:

    "A 1988 escape of tiger shrimp from an aquaculture facility in Bluffton, S.C., resulted in the recapture of about 1,000 adults as far south as Cape Canaveral, Fla., according to the Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Division of the U.S. Geological Survey. The first confirmed sighting of black tiger shrimp in North Carolina was in 2006 in Pamlico Sound, Murphey said. Two were caught last year in New River, but most were in the ocean, she added."

    December 16, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Diana

    Uhhh according to that ruler that it's next to, it's about 12 inches long... that's a huge shrimp!!!

    December 16, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. faboge

    If 5 inches is a monster then we all are sporting some pretty giant monsters!

    December 16, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dennis

      Nice!

      December 16, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • PulTab

      Where do people keep coming up with 5 inches?

      December 16, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • tard police

      Where are all of you imbeciles getting 5 inches? Do you all ride the same short-bus? The ruler clearly shows 12" !

      December 16, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Weldon Gebhard

    Out of luck because you can't sue shrimp. Yet.

    December 16, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. faboge

    this one looks like it would taste like sweet light crude... 🙂

    December 16, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bill Voelker

    What is the problem? It looks delicious!

    December 16, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Reed

    Let's pour some oil on em!......oh wait, that obviously didn't affect them.

    December 16, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Pamela Haley Design

    I really wish they would stop spinning everything into bad news. A population of shrimp which we thought was wiped out has made a come back. I'm sure they are tasty. By the way, if anyone commenting here has a marine fish tank or studies Marine Biology... Cannibal please.

    December 16, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Weldon Gebhard

    How do you sue a shrimp..

    December 16, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Don

      Ask SpongeBob (how you sue a shrimp)

      December 16, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Scott

    Do you not count the tail Bogus?

    December 16, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
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