Asian tiger shrimp are native to Indo-Pacific, Asian, and Australian waters, however are actually discovered alongside the southeast and Gulf coasts of the US. Whereas small numbers of this invasive species have been reported in U.S. waters for over a decade, sightings have notably elevated over the previous few years.
Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and NOAA are actually working with state companies from North Carolina to Texas to look into whether or not these shrimp carry illness, compete for a similar meals supply, or prey instantly on native shrimp. An investigation can be underway to decide how this transplanted species reached U.S. waters, and what’s behind a current rise in sightings of the non-native shrimp.
Scientists haven’t but formally deemed the Asian tiger shrimp “established” in U.S. waters, and nobody is definite what triggered the current spherical of elevated sightings. The non-native shrimp species could have escaped from aquaculture amenities; nevertheless, there are not any recognized Asian tiger shrimp farms presently in operation within the U.S. Ballast water from ships has been advised as one other pathway. One other risk is that they’re arriving on ocean currents from wild populations within the Caribbean and even as far-off as Gambia, a west African nation the place they’re recognized to be established.
With so many different theories about the place these shrimp are coming from and solely a handful of juveniles reported, it’s exhausting for scientists to conclude whether or not they’re breeding or just being carried in by currents.
To search for solutions, NOAA and USGS scientists are analyzing shrimp collected from the Gulf and Atlantic coasts to search for refined variations of their DNA, data which may supply beneficial clues to their origins. That is the primary take a look at the genetics of untamed caught Asian tiger shrimp populations discovered on this a part of the U.S., and should make clear whether or not there are a number of sources.
NOAA scientists are additionally launching a analysis effort to grasp extra concerning the biology of those shrimp and the way they might have an effect on the ecology of native fisheries and coastal ecosystems. As with all non-native species, there are considerations over the potential for novel avenues of illness transmission and competitors with native shrimp shares, particularly given the excessive progress charges and spawning charges in contrast with different species.
When you see a number of shrimp suspected to be an Asian tiger shrimp, you possibly can assist the analysis effort by noting the placement and submitting a report of the sighting with the USGS.
If doable, freeze a specimen to assist verify the identification and contribute to a tissue repository maintained by NOAA scientists.