Invasive Shrimp Species on the Rise in NC

Nov 21, 2011

Asian Tiger Shrimp
Credit James Morris/NOAA

Scientists are keeping a close eye on North Carolina's shrimp population as fishermen see more of an invasive species known as tiger shrimp. Fishermen have reported catching more than 200 this season. That's up from an average of 10 to 20 since 2008. James Morris is an ecologist with NOAA's Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research in Beaufort. He says more tiger shrimp could mean a smaller catch for North Carolina's traditional shrimpers.

James Morris: "It grows much larger than our native shrimp species. They can grow up to 13 or 14 inches long. They actually get carnivorous as they get bigger and they can consume small fish and even other shrimp."

Morris says scientists are still monitoring the species to determine if it poses a long-term threat. The state Division of Marine Fisheries says the 2011 shrimp catch is still up slightly from this time last year.