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. TAJW

    I suspect somehow this will be attributed to 'Global Warming' or 'Climate Change' or 'Overpopulation' or just general badness by humans.

    I mean, after all ... WE are the reason ANYTHING bad happens ... except of course, unless you are one of 'enlightened'

    December 20, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clicky

      Shut up.

      December 20, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • James Morelli

      I know, I mean, sure we add about 1 BILLION more people to the planet every 12 years, and released 66 trillion pounds of CO2 into the air through burning of fossil fuels, how could we have any effect on this big old planet??? (That's CO2 release in 2010 alone, and that gas sticks around for a long time, 100 year or more half life).

      December 21, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Osty

      Yes, please shut up.

      December 21, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • GeneK

      These are Pacific Ocean shrimp, so yes, somehow people are ultimately responsible for them being in the Atlantic. Perhaps as far back as the digging of the Panama Canal.

      December 21, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Shrimp Lover

    I read recently that a company in the midwest in the desert of all places is able to farm shrimp inland.Seems like the thing to do is catch these 1000 or so shrimp and farm raise them. I would love to try some giant shrimp. Lets feed the world with giant shrimp! Shrimply delicious!

    December 20, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • sara

      farm raised seafood is BAD for you.

      December 20, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      Sara, it depends on the methods, the species, and the location. Unlike open ocean fish farms that are may be positioned close to the shore where currents are weakest and pollution is greatest, shrimp are farmed in ponds where tight control over water quality can be ensured. So, if anything, farmed shrimp are safer to eat than wild shrimp.

      December 21, 2011 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
  3. Thizz

    Do they taste like shrimp?

    December 20, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Cheeze Whiz

    "Thizz – Do they taste like shrimp?"

    No, they taste like chicken.

    December 20, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Thicklicious Chelsia

    Carletta don't let me eats no skrimps

    December 21, 2011 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
    • AhhPures

      Yer missin sumpin.

      December 21, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam the shrimp

      their srimps man, sheeesh , dontcha know how to talk Cajun? hahahha

      December 23, 2011 at 4:15 am | Report abuse |
  6. snowdogg

    Bet they would make great cat food!

    December 21, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  7. danni30

    can you say uber gout?

    December 21, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      ...Buber snout.

      I'm doing it wrong, aren't I?

      December 21, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bill

    Black Tiger Shrimp have been available as food for a while...those shrimp in the store you see marketed as "COLOSSAL"...those are them. These people are only worried because they think they can be detrimental to other species of shrimp and small marine life.

    December 21, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • ghostface

      These are NOT Colossul shrimp. Did you even look at the above illustration. This particular species is close to one foot long.

      December 23, 2011 at 4:20 am | Report abuse |
  9. Osty

    Looks delicious. If they taste good, we can count on humans to overfish them to extinction.

    December 21, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ronald Hussein Reagan

      good one – nature's checks and balances, as it were. You'll go far here, Son.

      December 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. K3Citizen

    It isn't right to call anything over 10 inches a shrimp.

    December 21, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • billy bob

      That's what she said!

      December 22, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • fisherman

      Now that's an oxymoron.

      December 23, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. dingo8baby

    Barbecue Shrimp, Boiled Shrimp, Broiled Shrimp, Baked Shrimp, Sauteed Shrimp, Shrimp-kabobs, Shrimp Creole, Shrimp Gumbo, Pan Fried Shrimp, Deep Fried Shrimp, Stir-Fried Shrimp, Pineapple Shrimp, Lemon Shrimp, Coconut Shrimp, Pepper Shrimp, Shrimp Soup, Shrimp Stew, Shrimp Salad, Shrimp and Potatoes, Shrimp Burger, Shrimp Sandwich, Shrimp Po'boy

    December 22, 2011 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
    • fred

      I love everything you say, man !!!!!!

      December 22, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • bgumper

      That's about it...

      December 24, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  12. Eric

    BP much?

    December 22, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. fred

    Hot Diggitty !! Can you say "REAL BIG BAR-B-QUE" ??? I knew that you could !

    December 22, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. David Crandall

    I think they should catch 'em and make dog food out of 'em.

    December 23, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  15. Pete

    Simple solution, eat them to extinction.

    December 24, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
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