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. jeff

    whats the problem? Eat them. Find a better story and report a serious crime and post mug shot so we can help put sorry people in jail!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

    January 13, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • ConcernedNetizen

      "put sorry people in jail". Yes, sorry people who infest capital hill perhaps..

      February 6, 2012 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Chuck

      You ignorant twit, you aren't going to put anyone in jail! You need to think about how shrimp are an important food source, and the gulf shrimp indigenous to the gulf are part of that picture. Tiger shrimp are okay, but many prefer the gulf shrimp, so cut out the "I'm so much smarter than you are" act. It doesn't suit.

      February 8, 2012 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
  2. sounds scary

    The one in the picture is over a foot long and probably can eat its weight in oysters or worse baby gulf shrimp.This must be a spy spieces sent over from China to eat all our shrimp and swim back to China weighing 100 lbs or more.Time to call in the national guard and fight a war worth fighting for OUR WAR to Save our Shrimp Fisherman from China

    January 14, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Paul

    Sell them to Asian countries, they are the most expensive shrimp other than the spiny lobsters.

    February 3, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Coflyboy

    Not marketable? You get the right people involved and they are sold. Call 'em Shrimpsters. If we threw some on the barbie I am sure they would be eaten.

    February 3, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. PassingThru

    You see the dragon like face! Looks like it would take your finger off.

    February 3, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Owthosefriesarehot

    Looks pretty damn delicious to me...

    February 3, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. H. B.

    I have to wonder what makes shrimpers think this particular kind isn't marketable. At first I thought it must be because it is cannibalistic, which might affect the taste negatively. But the article says ALL shrimp are that way; it's just that the big ones can eat more of their kind.

    So why don't shrimpers think they're marketable? They must have some reason for it. I hardly think they're fools for punishment, losing money they might have earned.

    I'd like someone to explain their REASONS. When I lived near Brownsville, I was able to get what they call "rock shrimp." They are a shrimp that has the kind of shell lobsters do – thick and hard. They used to throw them away, but when I was living there, they were selling them. It's a bit of work to remove the shells, but once done, you're only a few minutes away from noshing them. They're small and cook up fast. And cost less than ham does. So they made money from creatures they used to dump back into the drink. What keeps them from selling these, then? After all, these shrimper-dudes are anything but STUPID, y'know!

    I live in Mexico now, and can have shrimp several times a month. I'd LOVE to try these. Especially if they were even cheaper.

    I'm lucky in another way. I ADORE fresh salmon. Here in Mexico, I can get huge filets of salmon, and it costs a LOT less than Alaskan salmon, but is every bit as good. It comes from Chile. THEY have the same kind of cold sea that Alaska does. So I get salmon a lot more than I used to.

    Since both shrimp and salmon make healthy eating (the antioxidants in their fat), having them often is beneficial that way, too. Moreover, the Mexican people have so much LESS hate than the people do back home nowadays. They aren't ashamed of having compassion. Great place to live. My fishmonger even DELIVERS. So I now love TWO countries!

    February 5, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chuck

      The problem with shrimp that size is that they eat the oysters which are also a food source and much enjoyed by many. We have to make our adjustments sometimes, but bummer if the oysters disappear or become even more expensive. Also, whether it's fresh caught or not, Salmon has more mercury than some, so the acceptable rate of consuming Salmon is once a week. Good eats! And I'll take mine from the USA, thanks anyway. Many of the Mexicans I know don't want to live OR visit Mexico, so that's why they're here.

      February 8, 2012 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
  8. John

    what about the royal reds they used to catch of louisiana around the oil wells, they were 6-7 inches long ummmmy with cocktail sauce or tarter sauce

    February 5, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. whatAMess

    BP shrimp. Toxic environmental pollution genetic mutations... BP TIGER SHRIMP... lol

    February 6, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. NotAShrimp

    The name no longer applies. It's not a "shrimp". Call it a, "Monster." Like this...

    February 6, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. They taste great

    We buy Tiger Shrimp where I live (BC). They are good eatting. They are marketable – they are sold in every supermarket that I have ever been in here. Tiger Shrimp BBQ very well.

    February 9, 2012 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |

    A lot of people around the world don't have enough to eat. I'm sure after these animals are deskinned and boiled they would be very tasty. In Japan, they will eat anything from the sea. Just over-fish them and feed them to us. Sometimes over-fishing can be a good thing. I for one would order them at a restaurant without a problem.

    If you're really hungry and smell them cooking on a BBQ with spicy sauce, you'll devour so many that you'll be screaming for more. End of problem. Let's EAT!


    February 12, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. silverfox

    Tiger shrimp have been sold in New York stores for years.Delicious. Only way to know what these Black Tiger taste like is to cook and eat one. Not rocker science. As an aside, giant tiger shrimp have been caught off the North Carolina coast recently. Not many, just a few. But folks wonder where they came from. All adult shrimp. Which means they probably are not breeding.

    February 16, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. mrs.bread

    I think we should just them the way Bubba said in the movie Forest Gump.. We can, fry, bake, grill, smoke, boil, etc, looks like some gooood eating

    February 20, 2012 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
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