another immigrant story, h/t to Rich K, via Ace
An invasion of giant cannibal shrimp into America’s coastal waters appears to be getting worse. Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Thursday that sightings of the massive Asian tiger shrimp, which can eat their smaller cousins, were 10 times higher in 2011 than in 2010.
“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,” said Pam Fuller, a USGS biologist.
The shrimp, which can grow to 13 inches long, are native to Asian and Australian waters and have been reported in coastal waters from North Carolina to Texas.
They can be consumed by humans.
“They’re supposed to be very good. But they can get very large, sorta like lobsters,” Fuller said.
While they may make good eatin’ for people, it’s the eating the giant shrimp do themselves that worries scientists.
“Are they competing with or preying on native shrimp,” Fuller asked. “It’s also very disease-prone.”
To try to get those answers, government scientists are launching a special research project on the creatures.
Perhaps some lout should shout “They’re here, no fear, get used to it!”?
The shrimp were “accidentally” released (how often have we heard that canard?) off the South Carolina coast in 1998. Somehow 2,000 of them got loose then and only 300 were recaptured. Since then they’ve been showing up all the way down to Florida and around the coast to Texas. So it’s pretty unlikely that the same little herd is doing all that moving and getting caught once in a while like gypsy caravans. They’re breeding. Like mad. Worse than rats. Or gypsies.
Scientists don’t know if there is a breeding population in U.S. waters. Tiger shrimp females can lay 50,000 to a million eggs, which hatch within 24 hours. Or the shrimp may be carried here by currents or in ballast tanks of marine vessels.
The latest study will look at the DNA of collected specimens
Yup, that’s breeding alright. I’m just grateful that they’re only giant cannibal shrimp, not giant zombie shrimp. So let’s apply Wong Kim Ark in a natural resource manner, claim them as our own, and start the barbies going. At over a foot long, two or three of these ought to make a pretty decent meal.
I was just thinking I’ll need a bigger barbie.