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Asian Tiger Shrimp Reported in Northern Gulf of Mexico PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Contact Martha Duvall, 228.327.8775 or 228.872.4254   

Scientists at The University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL) in Ocean Springs are keeping their eyes peeled for Asian tiger shrimp, Penaeus monodon, in coastal waters and are asking local shrimpers to do the same. 

Within the last month, several tiger shrimp, have been caught in local waters. These potentially invasive shrimp are large and aggressive toward other shrimp. They are native to southeast Asia, the Philippines and Australia, but have been imported to many different countries and cultured because of their large size and market acceptance. 

“These shrimp are in competition for resources needed by our native species and they also carry diseases that can affect both shrimp and crabs,” said Harriet Perry, director of the Center for Fisheries Research and Development at GCRL.  “We’ve been aware for some time that these shrimp have been periodically taken in trawls in waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico, but these are the first specimens captured in Mississippi waters,” added Perry. 

These catches should not, however, cause alarm.  Because of winter low temperatures in the area, it is doubtful that Asian tiger shrimp could establish reproducing populations this far north as they can’t tolerate water temperatures below 13°C. 

The primary concern with introduction of this species is the transfer of viral diseases to native shrimp.  Perry just wants local shrimp fishermen to be aware that the species is in the northern Gulf of Mexico and to report captures.

“Northern Gulf of Mexico specimens are thought to have come from Central and South America either by transport via ocean currents or ballast water,” said Mike Brainard, Invasive Species Coordinator for the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. “Since no aquaculture companies are culturing this species in the U.S. at this time, we know the source of the northern Gulf specimens is not local.” 

To report the capture of any tiger shrimp specimens, contact Harriet Perry, 228.872.4218 or Mike Brainard, 228.374.5000.


This Asian tiger shrimp, caught recently off Bayou Cassotte off Pascagoula’s shore, measures 260 mm long and weighs almost one-third of a pound.  (Photo: Martha Duvall, Southern Miss GCRL Public Relations photo)  

About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities.  In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world.  Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at   

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