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. Joe Rioux

    According to Wikipedia they are very edible. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_Tiger_Shrimp

    December 16, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • HurtfulTruth

      They look ABSOLUTELY delicious!!!

      December 16, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      I'd BBQ that son of a bltch so fast he wouldn't know what hit him.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • canadian66

      just another way BP can say they didn`t screw up the fisheries and blame something else for it

      December 16, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. sirknight

    Bubba Gump Shrimp Co is all over this

    December 16, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Livefreeordie

    Grilled with butter and garlic...MMmmm tasty!

    December 16, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. tango

    I love shrimps, how do they count them? maybe there is some kind of chemicals that are making them fat and big

    December 16, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • richardbrody

      just like your mom

      December 16, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • RS

      REPORTED

      December 16, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Gurgi

    Sounds like time to have a BBQ.

    December 16, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. john

    Now I'm hungry.

    December 16, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. lookylou

    how come when black people try and say the word "shrimp" it always comes out "swimp"?

    December 16, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • richardbrody

      I have always wondered about that too, but I was always afraid to ask because I didn not want to be called a racist. Thank you for bringing this important issue tot he forefront.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lamont

      I'm in Memphrica. down here we calls dem 'skrimp'

      December 16, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Martini

      ROTFL!!! Not all black people pronounce it swimp, just the one's who were never corrected and have no idea how ignorant it sounds. I've also heard white people pronounce is skrimp, and that always drives me nutty! BTW I am black...

      December 16, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Martini

      It not is sorry about the typo!

      December 16, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tyler

    I, for one, welcome our new man-eating shrimp overlords....

    December 16, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • richardbrody

      maybe if we are all lucky, they will eat you.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • ManEatingShrimpOverlord

      Noted.

      December 16, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Clearly Dick Brody is not a Simpsons fan...

      December 16, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. 2tired2care

    delicious

    December 16, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. SC

    The shrimpers thought a 12 inch shrimp wasn't marketable? Dip that in some buffalo sauce and blue cheese and wrap it in a hoagie roll. My god that would make a nice lunch.

    December 16, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dan

    Looks good! I'll eat it.

    December 16, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. corntrader19

    Didn't they think "they are marketable?" You've got to be kidding! Shrimp lovers like me would love to have a whopper like that on my plate!

    December 16, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Chui

    Stripped black tiger prawns close to 10 inches long are nothing new. They exist in salt water as well as fresh water The later verity are imported into the US in some 100 tons each year from India, Pakistan. Vietnam. Thailand and other parts of South America etc. 1000 or even 10,000 in the Gulf of Mexico, considering the size of that body of water is a drop in the bucket. May these LA and TX yahoos need to catch a few and start cultivating them for their meat.

    December 16, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ws6dave

    I would be more then happy to help keep them under contol with some shrimp sauce.
    Sent them my way..

    December 16, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. sksk

    1000 of these is a menace? That doesn't seem like much as far as shrimp numbers go. Those shrimp boats can pull in 1000 shrimp in one net.

    December 16, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
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