It is not a shrimp, it is an Asian Tiger Prawn, and they are coming to a Gulf near you. These scary looking creatures can grow up to 14 inches long, and are known to carry multiple diseases. Recently there has been an increased amount of sitings of these crustaceans in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Texas.
Researchers are not quite sure why these animals have decided to travel half way around the world, but they are beginning to turn up in fishing nets, potentially causing problems for commercial shrimpers in the Gulf.
“It has the potential to be real ugly,” Leslie Hartman, Matagorda Bay ecosystem leader for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, told the Houston Chronicle. “But we just do not know.”
Some potential theories include an accidental release of farmed Asian Tiger Prawns in North Carolina, or a possible over flow of a commercial fishery in the Caribbean due to recent hurricanes.
Currently fisherman are not allowed to fish for non native species in the Gulf, unless they have a specific permit to do so. However at the moment none of the shrimpers are intentionally seeking out these monstrosities, though they manage to get mixed up in the hauls.
According to Indian Country Today in previous years fisherman could expect about 30 of these crustaceans to find themselves in their nets per year. This year the number increased up to 100, with one boat claiming a haul of 100 prawn in one shot.