Scientists are concerned about the rise in invasive Asian tiger shrimp in U.S. coastal waters. The large shrimp, which can reach over a foot in length, consume smaller native shrimp. NOAA wants to know if you see one of these large shrimps.
NOAA scientists are launching a research effort to understand more about the biology of these shrimp and how they may affect the ecology of native fisheries and coastal ecosystems. Anyone who sees a shrimp suspected to be an Asian tiger shrimp is asked to note the location and report the sighting to the USGS NAS database
Pam Fuller, the USGS biologist who runs the agency's Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS) database, says, "We can confirm there was nearly a tenfold jump in reports of Asian tiger shrimp in 2011. And they are probably even more prevalent than reports suggest, because the more fisherman and other locals become accustomed to seeing them, the less likely they are to report them."
Scientists have not yet officially deemed the Asian tiger shrimp "established" in U.S. waters. It is also hard for scientists to conclude whether the shrimps are breeding in U.S. coastal waters or simply being carried in by currents.
A CNN story
about the huge invasive Asian tiger shrimp has one positive angle to the story. The shrimp, which are nearly lobster-sized, can be eaten.
Fuller told CNN, "They're supposed to be very good. But they can get very large, sorta like lobsters."
Photo: Micah Bakenhaster/Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission