Giant shrimp threaten Gulf of Mexico

Giant shrimp can grown to be a foot long

By Jennifer Bauer - Reporter

KEMAH, Texas - They're not native to our waters, but recently some Asian Tiger Prawns have been found in the Gulf of Mexico, and now some biologists are concerned.

The giant shrimp can grow to be a foot long and weigh half a pound; they're predatory in nature and could threaten the Gulf's ecosystem.

"It's bad to introduce exotic species into an area they don't belong," said Bill Balboa, the Galveston Bay ecosystem leader for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Coastal Fisheries Division. "It's difficult to determine what the overall impact will be, but generally speaking there hasn't been an introduction of one that's been beneficial."

Texas fishermen told KPRC Local 2 that the Asian Tiger Prawns are on their radar.

"There's a bunch of commotion going on about that," said fisherman Josh Gokey. "The oyster industry got messed up now people are worried about the shrimping industry as well."

The giant shrimp started showing up in Texas waters last summer, now the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is doing research to try and figure out where they came from and how they got here.

In the meantime, Balboa said there's not a whole lot that can be done about it.

"We're monitoring the occurrence and location of their capture," he said. "The Gulf is a very big place and we haven't been able to locate the areas where they're reproducing. There's still a lot that's unknown about them."

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