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. unowhoitsme

    Here, let me figure out shrimp per square footage...what a joke. If you know there's 1000, because you counted them, go get them, so that don't hurt the fishing industry. Send out a trained dolphin.

    December 16, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Young

      Basically...... That made me chuckle a bit..... Makes perfect sense though....

      December 16, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Anthony

    caused due to the oil spill...mutated shrimp, lol

    December 16, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • bill

      they're probably tea partiers too

      December 16, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • AAA

      I totally agree! Mutation must be the cause. Shrimps are getting evolved

      December 16, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • dowp

      i agree w/mutation of the shrimp because of oil spill

      December 16, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. toni

    Cook'em up and eat them!

    December 16, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lula

      Heck yeah, cook them up like lobsters!!!!!!!

      December 16, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. DIEGO

    just tell the chinese about it and they will eat them to extinction

    December 16, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • BPollutin

      Now that's funny...and sadly true!

      December 16, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • bob

      What's so funny about that? The racists Americans will eat them as well!

      December 16, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Oldie in TampaBay

    start offering the shrimpmen a bounty on them!

    December 16, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. I love Shrimp with Butter

    Are they edible? Why not harvest them if they are and sell them? It would seem to me that a giant shrimp braised and served with a nice garlic butter dip would be great! Does anyone know their natural habitat? Also, have they been mutated by all the chemicals poured into the Gulf during the oil well blow out?

    December 16, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimmy Cracks Capricorns

      Instead of calling them Black Tigers call them Gulf Lobster Shrimps...

      December 16, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ralf The Dog

      I would bet that they are from very deep water. They got washed back in by the big storms.

      December 16, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wes

      Do you guys actually read the article? They started showing up AGAIN after a series of hurricanes hit the area a few years back. They were there in the 80s as well. The oil leak last year had nothing to do with them.

      December 16, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • bob

      I wish that the article would have given more information about weather they were edible or not That's the first thing i thought about!

      December 16, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. raracer

    so send a message to all fisherman that the game & wildlife will pay $20 for each one caught. the fisherman will no longer throw them back.

    December 16, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mudnoc

      I like that idea

      December 16, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. rizzo

    So how do we know there are 1000 of them? That makes no sense without further context.

    December 16, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oh, Really?

      Why The Count counted them, of course. One at a time.

      One shrimpy whimpy, two shrimpy whimpy, three! Three shrimpy whimpy, ahhh ahhh ahhhhhhhh

      December 16, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Seth

    Looks edible to me.

    December 16, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. DefyTheGods

    Oh no! It's Shrimpzilla! I wonder how they taste.

    December 16, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Symera

    Are you kidding?! Steam those suckers up and dip them in butter – you'll see how marketable they are ...

    December 16, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Chuck

    This is what happens when regular shrimp consume crude and surfactants. It is the GODZILLA of Shrimp. I blame the Republicans.

    December 16, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ralf The Dog

      Sorry, my bad. You posted the zilla shrimp comment first.

      December 16, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oh, Really?

      So what's wrong with a few petroleum byproducts in your diet?

      You a vegetarian or something?

      December 16, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wes

      Do you guys actually read the article? They started showing up AGAIN after a series of hurricanes hit the area a few years back. They were there in the 80s as well. The oil leak last year had nothing to do with them.

      December 16, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ralf The Dog

    Zilla shrimp! I bet they taste bad.

    December 16, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Oh, Really?

    I bet that critter would make one hell of a scampi!

    December 16, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. STLBroker

    Giant shrimp? That's seems contradictary like "military intelligence".

    December 16, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ralf The Dog

      LOL, I give you three points for that from half court!

      December 16, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
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