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. smartass

    well ho now settle down maybe thats why they disappered for so long

    December 16, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Anonymous

    All-you-can-eat giant cannibal shrimp, now at Red Lobster!

    December 16, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Harry Ballsachs

    That picture looks like dinner for me

    December 16, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JJinCVistaCA

    I really do wish the article would have included whether these shrimp taste good to us. All we have are hear-say comments on he message board from people who claim they are. I suspect they're excellent for making sea food, so why NOT fish them too and bring them to market?

    December 16, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. facebook

    well settle dwn smartass dey disappered because of THE FAT MAN lol jkiin hahahaha not teehee

    December 16, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Myles

    do they taste good?

    December 16, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wild Red Berry

      tastes like chicken

      December 16, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • I m ur daddy

      they taste just like your mom does.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. John

    Why do they think only a thousand Tiger Shrimp are in the Gulf, did they do some kind of catch/tag and release study? Are they fitted with some kind of radio transmitting collar?

    December 16, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      2011 Census

      December 16, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. The Unselfish Meme

    Giant sea insects, these shrimps and lobsters.

    December 16, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jenni

    OMG I LOVE BLACK MEN

    December 16, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • chilly g

      im a black man and i love white women please give me a call or email.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Well, well..

      LMAOOO!!!!!!

      December 16, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Guest

    Not marketable?! I'll take one, pass the butter!

    December 16, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Allen

    The shrimp are edible but have been overfished and are red listed as they may come from unsustainable fishing areas. So how is this a concern to fisherman, if the population is small and unsustainable then let them feed and become a sustainable source.

    December 16, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. IThinkImMe

    "Appearing more than 25 years ago, the black tiger’s sudden reappearance is a mystery."

    So I guess the huge BP oil spill and hurricanes had absolutely nothing to do with this right?

    December 16, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • sbast18

      Maybe the spill brought them back...?

      December 16, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. strangways

    Fish 'em out like every other species. Or tell the Chinese they're an aphrodisiac. problem solved.

    December 16, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. WHAT?

    yum yum

    December 16, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Fred

    I used to catch black tiger shrimp, but then I took an arrow in the knee

    December 16, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
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