11-122-CWS | November 30, 2011
BILOXI, Miss. – The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) is asking commercial and recreational shrimp fishermen to aid in the on-going monitoring process of the invasive species, Asian tiger shrimp.
There have been reports of small numbers of tiger shrimp caught in northern Gulf waters, including the Mississippi Sound. The tiger shrimp may have reached the northern Gulf of Mexico after having escaped aquaculture facilities in the Caribbean and being carried by ocean currents; this species is not currently being raised commercially in the United States.
Tiger shrimp were most recently reported by commercial fishermen in the Mississippi Sound near the East Biloxi Channel in late July. Prior encounters include sightings in the Mississippi Sound near Pascagoula in 2009. Since 2006, the tiger shrimp has been found in the waters of Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and North and South Carolina.
“Most of the reports we’ve received most recently have been from fishermen working in Louisiana and landing their catch in Mississippi,” said Mike Pursley, Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator and Field Project Manager for the MDMR.
Asian tiger shrimp are typically larger than brown and white shrimp more commonly found in the Mississippi Sound and are native to southeast Asia, Australia and the Philippines. The species can be easily identified by a black and white “tiger” stripped pattern on the shell, they can grow to more than 10 inches long and weigh more than a half-pound with a life span between two and three years.
In October, the MDMR Shrimp and Crab Bureau mailed a notice containing Asian tiger shrimp identifying characteristics and contact information to all Mississippi shrimpers as well as dealer/processors.
Fishermen are asked to report any encounters with this invasive species because exotic shrimp such as the tiger shrimp may pose environmental threats such as spreading disease, aggression toward native shrimp and competition for food and habitat.
“We just don’t know enough about potential effects at this time,” Pursley said.
“That’s why we would encourage shrimpers and seafood processors, or anyone else, to call the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources if you encounter the Asian tiger shrimp.”
If you are a commercial or recreational shrimp fisherman and you catch an Asian tiger shrimp, please take a photo, freeze it, record the GPS coordinates and call (228) 374-5000 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources is dedicated to enhancing, protecting and conserving marine interests of the state by managing all marine life, public trust wetlands, adjacent uplands and waterfront areas to provide for the optimal commercial, recreational, educational and economic uses of these resources consistent with environmental concerns and social changes. Visit the DMR online at www.dmr.ms.gov.
PHOTO CREDIT: Photos courtesy of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources.
Photo A cutline: The Asian tiger shrimp can be easily identified by a black and white “tiger” stripped pattern on the shell and can grow to more than 10 inches long. Photo B cutline: The MDMR Shrimp and Crab Bureau mailed this decal to all Mississippi shrimpers and dealer/processors in October, 2011.
Contact: Jennifer Goldman Leirer