The recent rise in sightings of non-native Asian tiger shrimp off the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts has government scientists working to determine the cause of the increase and the possible consequences for native fish and seafood in those waters, according to a story posted on the website of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
According to the story on the NOAA website:
Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are working with state agencies from North Carolina to Texas to look into how this transplanted species from Indo-Pacific, Asian and Australian waters reached U.S. waters, and what the increase in sightings means for native species.
“We can confirm there was nearly a tenfold jump in reports of Asian tiger shrimp in 2011,” explained Pam Fuller, the USGS biologist who runs the agency’s Nonindigenous Aquatic Species database. “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.”
NOAA scientists are launching a research effort to understand more about the biology of these shrimp and how they may affect the ecology of native fisheries and coastal ecosystems. As with all non-native species, there are concerns over the potential for novel avenues of disease transmission and competition with native shrimp stocks, especially given the high growth rates and spawning rates compared with other species.
“The Asian tiger shrimp represents yet another potential marine invader capable of altering fragile marine ecosystems,” said NOAA marine ecologist James Morris. “Our efforts will include assessments of the biology and ecology of this non-native species and attempts to predict impacts to economically and ecologically important species of the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.”
Read the entire story from the NOAA website HERE.