Humongous Asian shrimp invading US waters, say scientists

Giant tiger shrimp may spell trouble for native shrimp species, scientists worry.

Patrik Jonsson / The Christian Science Monitor
This images shows shrimp monger Scott Jones at Billy's Seafood in Bon Seceur, Ala. Scientists have expressed concern that tiger shrimp are invading U.S. waters.

An increase in reports of big Asian tiger shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico and along the U.S. Southeast coast has federal biologists worried.

The black-and-white-striped shrimp can grow 13 inches long and weigh a quarter-pound, compared to eight inches and a bit over an ounce for domestic white, brown and pink shrimp.Scientists fear the tigers will bring disease and competition for native species.

From 2008-2010, a few dozen tiger shrimp a year were reported in U.S. waters. Last year, 210 were reported from North Carolina to Texas. Scientists believe the population is much higher and shrimpers simply aren't reporting them.

The government's asking people to report and bring back tiger shrimp so scientists can learn whether it's the vanguard of an invasion.

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