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. wildone

    Reminds me of the cannibal Republican Presidential hopefuls. They're big, and mean and they turn on each other to be at the top of the food chain. But in the end they'll devour each other until there is no one left.

    December 16, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Wow, another liberal comment on CNN. Can't get away from these liberals, even on an article on shrimp. The republican primary is no different than the democrats primary 3 years ago with the exception that there are several qualified Republicans to be president.

      December 16, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • wildone

      There may be several Republicans who "think" they're qualified to be President, but like the giant tiger shrimp in this story the others will attack and devour them. This has nothing to do with my being a liberal or not. It's just the way the Republicans have gone after each other during these debates. They have shown the same cannibalistic tendencies as the shrimp.

      December 16, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • maddawg

      huge lols......very typical comment for a 'broken rubber' baby....

      too funny to be taken seriously....hahahahahahahahahaha

      thx for the laugh! 🙂

      December 16, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chad

      Nice one. Bottom feeding cannibals, sums up the current GOP presidential hopefuls, I'd say.

      December 16, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Azrael

      Idk man Barnie Frank Ted Kennedy John Tester to name a few.... look like they ate some of there buddies....... Just like old Newt......... But seriously an article on Shrimp......... Man leave the blasted political comments on an appropriate post..... They're friggin tons of them around............

      December 17, 2011 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
    • MikeLinPA

      While I agree with the opinion, it simply does not belong here. It has nothing to do with the article. Even though I completely agree with what you said, I cannot and do not approve this message! You will be taken more seriously if you put this in an article about politics.

      December 17, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jason

    The real question is how do they taste? I am sure we can shrimp them to death (yummy, yummy death).

    December 16, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Martha! get me a bucket of melted butter and my elastic pants! The gulfs gotta giant shrimp problem!

      December 16, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Black tiger shrimp are DELICIOUS! If you go to "high end" markets, they all have black tiger shrimp, & they are the most expensive also...

      December 16, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yakobi.

      With enough garlic & butter, even snails are edible.

      December 16, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rethink

    Dear CNN: When you publish a story as comma-challenged as this one is, it makes me feel like you are trying to sell me a new car with dings in the doors. Please hire a non-somnambulistic copy editor. Please pay that person to work on Friday.

    December 16, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Aaradimian

    Holy super-shrimp, Batman!

    December 16, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. SixDegrees

    Gotta be a market for those. Even if they're not great – maybe they're tough – they'd still be fine in salads, patés, bisques and lots of other applications. But I'd try one whole first.

    December 16, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      There is a HUGE market for them, most great resturants only have black tiger shrimp & I get them all the time at my high end store.

      December 16, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • mirted

      Steve: Looks like the "1% Shrimp" have arrived. Guess the Occupy crowd will now protest high end eateries.

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

    There could be over 1,000 of them? holy ****!!!!. Give them to me and I will deal with those succulent creatures.

    December 16, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • sparkle

      Seriously, we can eat our way out of this ecological issue!

      December 16, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. SixDegrees

    It would be nice if they would include the formal scientific name of the species. That would remove all doubt about whether they're good eating or not.

    December 16, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe

      Looks like Penaeus monodon.

      December 17, 2011 at 5:18 am | Report abuse |
  8. loveit

    Bubba Gump's DREAM COME TRUE!!! It looks delicious! ;p

    December 16, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. madman

    It looks delicious.

    December 16, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JC

    The scientific name is Penaeus monodon, I believe. Ladies and gentlemen, they are simply delicious. Try them in Eggrolls Formosa, or Cajun style. The question is, with a red tide running, can they be harvested? Seriously, this is one environmental issue we should be able to eat our way out of. I'm not certain if they get tougher as they get larger, but I'm willing to serve them with drawn butter to find out.

    December 16, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Corry Todd

    So Shrimp too think that Shrimp are delicious! Now all we have to do is to figure out a way to teach Tiger Shrimp to go to Red Lobster when they have their all you can eat Shrimporama Bonanza! Yup, that will surely solve the problem.

    December 16, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Grandpa RD

    Dat wun big azz mud bug fo sho, H'yuk H'yuk! Imma aimin' ta git a cupple duzzin 'o dems inna big brazz kettil and cooks 'em up good, bust im in haf and suk the guts out thru da head sho 'nuf. Dat azz meet lookz gud too!

    December 16, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Lucy

    They are SUPER delicious!

    December 16, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. henry

    @Corry Todd
    who eats at red lobster i mean really if you like paying top dollar for fake sea food

    December 17, 2011 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
  15. JayB12

    Fire up the barbie and grill em Aussie style. Cheers mate.

    December 17, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
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