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. T Bailey

    are the edible? shrimp lovers dream!!!!

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

      I was thinking the same thing. Kind of like an inexpensive lobster . . . 🙂

      December 16, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. EGB1

    I'm waiting for them to mutate into Mothra: winged monster shrimp, preying on Gulf state residents.

    December 16, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. PennStar

    The comments on here are better then the actual article. At least a few people in the world still have a sense of humor. All I can say is I love shrimp and lobster...I would be up to trying them out to see how they taste.

    December 16, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ralf The Dog

    If you have caught five of them, I am sure there are many more than 1,000. Ten times that number would probably not be a start.

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

    It's actually not safe to go back into the Gulf and it has nothing to do with that shrimp. All the dispersants can give you a rash and it made me have bloody pee for a few weeks .

    December 16, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sarcasmo

      I'll take Way Too Much Information for $200, Alex.

      December 16, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Death to Sycophants

      right. it was the dispersants.

      December 16, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. RoseMcB

    Throwing them back??? Nooooo! Catch them all! Send them to me!!! I will EAT them!

    December 16, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • US guy

      LOL – they will probably be chasing you

      December 16, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jds52

    I'll take em!

    December 16, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Risky

    That's one handsome jaw line.

    December 16, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tara

    Aside from the questions left from terrible quotes used to explain the situation, I just want to know why no one is selling those bad boys! They look delicious! Are they toxic or poisonous? Google it is.

    December 16, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. hirolla74

    Catch Forrest! Catch!

    December 16, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. skspls

    If black tiger shrimp are good to eat, problem solved.

    December 16, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Al

    Thats like shrimp filet, wow hope they are edible!

    December 16, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Modrepublican

    They sell these in California at the markets. They are really good eating. Can't believe the fisherman threw them back.

    December 16, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tara,r:3,s:36&tx=82&ty=45 Cook em up!

    December 16, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Quintus

    That is one big ass ugly shrimp...but I am willing to grill it up and give it a try.

    December 16, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
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