Aquaculture for all

Aquaculture America 2014: Asian Tiger Shrimp Invade Gulf of Mexico

Crustaceans Health Sustainability +5 more

US - Over the past few years, growing numbers of the invasive Asian tiger shrimp have been detected off the South-east US and in the Gulf of Mexico, writes Lucy Towers, Editor.

Lucy Towers thumbnail

Asian tiger shrimp (penaeus monodon) is native to Africa, South-east Asia, Australia and Fiji, said James Morris, NOAA. The shrimp were first recorded in US waters in 1988 off the coast of Georgia after the release of 2000 post larvae from an aquaculture facility.

Only around 300 of these were recovered but no other Asian tiger shrimp were seen between 1988 and 2010.

However, in 2011 and 2012, invasive disease monitoring reported a spike in the abundance of the shrimp.

Although no cause of the sudden rise in tiger shrimp numbers is unknown, possible sources include: farm escapes (though no legal facilities in the US), ballast water, or changes in ocean currents.

The abundance of these shrimp poses an ecological risk as they are a disease threat, they are carnivorous and they will compete with native shrimp for habitat and resources.