Cannibalistic Asian tiger shrimp off the US coast have biologists worried.Officials at the US Geological Survey and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that numbers of the huge shrimp have multiplied off the US coast, particularly off the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico.
According to CNN, they have increased 10-fold in one year.
This invasion has raised concerns for local marine life with possible unintended consequences for seafood and conservation efforts.
“Are they competing with or preying on native shrimp,” Pam Fuller of the US Geological Survey, asked rhetorically, according to CNN.
“It’s also very disease-prone.”
The black-and-white-striped Asian shrimp can grow 13 inches long and weigh a quarter-pound, while its domestic peer only weighs about an ounce, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
It is still unknown how the tiger shrimp arrived in the US
Currently, there are no tiger shrimp farms operating in US waters, according to Environmental Protection, a website.
One theory posits that the shrimp were carried over by currents from the Asian or Caribbean island coasts or via marine vessels.
Tiger shrimp females can lay hundreds of thousands of eggs, which hatch within 24 hours.
They are edible.
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