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July 19, 2015

Giant Tiger Shrimp in the Western Hemisphere


For the past two decades, commercial shrimp fishermen on the southeast and Gulf coasts of the United States have been catching increasing numbers of non-indigenous, giant tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon).  Native to the Indian Ocean and the southwestern Pacific Ocean from Japan to Australia, P. monodon is the largest (maximum length 363 millimeters, 14 inches) and fastest growing of the farmed shrimp.  Because of its large size and carnivorous feeding behavior, USA commercial fishermen fear that tiger shrimp might be preying on their catches of pink, white and brown shrimp, or that they might be passing on diseases to them.


On July 13, 2015, Shrimp News asked its readers about the spread of tiger shrimp around the world.  Here are some of the responses:


Enrique Manuel Niño Cordero (, a shrimp farmer in Nicaragua, reports: A few months ago, I got a report from a Costa Rican newspaper that shrimp fishermen were seeing increasing numbers of tiger shrimp in their catches.  The fishermen speculated that the tiger shrimp had something to do with the decline in the catches of local species.  Also, a few weeks ago, there were reports in a Nicaraguan newspaper that non-imported tiger shrimp were appearing in Honduran and Guatemalan supermarkets.


David Knott (, a taxonomist in South Carolina, reports: There’s a woman on the Gulf coast who’s filmed tiger shrimp eating small blue crabs.


A rapid communication has been submitted to BioInvasions Records on tiger shrimp catches off the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica in 2014, but I don’t think it’s been published yet.


Attached are a couple of recent papers published regarding wild caught tiger shrimp in the Caribbean:


1.  Spatial Distribution and Abundance of the Giant Tiger Prawn, Penaeus monodon (Fabricius, 1798), in the Gulf of Urabá (Caribbean), Colombia, South America.  Luis Alejandro Sandoval, Jenny Leal-Florez (email, Research Group on Marine and Coastal Systems—GISMAC, Corporación Académica Ambiental, Universidad de Antioquia, Calle 67 No. 53-108.  A.A.1226. Medellín, Colombia), Alexander Taborda and Jairo Guillermo Vásquez.  Published online July 8, 2014.  BioInvasions Records, Volume-3, Issue-3, Pages 169–173.  2014.


Abstract: The spatial distribution and abundance of the non-native giant tiger prawn Penaeus monodon (Fabricius, 1798) in the Gulf of Urabá, Colombian Caribbean, was examined using catch records made by trained fishermen.  From April 1 to November 30,  2011, 397 tiger shrimp were captured at 20 fishing localities in the Gulf.  Individual weights ranged between 50 and 500 grams (average 232 grams).  According to local fishermen, the giant tiger prawn has been present in the Gulf since 2007, possibly earlier.  This non-native species was commonly captured along with the native white shrimp Penaeus schmitti.  The highest catches were from the mouths of the Atrato River and Turbo rivers.  If it has become established, the effects of the giant tiger shrimp on the environment and the economy of the region are as yet unknown.


2. Capturado el Camarón Tigre Penaeus monodon (Fabricius, 1798) en las Costas de Cuba.  Enrique Giménez Hurtado (, Centro de Investigaciones Pesqueras, Cuba), Lourdes Pérez Jar, Barbarito Jaime Ceballos, Ileana Fraga Castro, Redney Jiménez Cabrera, Dayamí Cabrera Vilaon and Ángela Moreno Urquiza.  El Bohío, Boletín Electrónico, Volume-3, Number-2, February 2013.


Abstract: Three female Penaeus monodon were captured in the coastal lagoons of the Golf of Ana María, Cuba.  Their length was from 270 to 290 millimeters, and their weigh was between 140 to 230 grams.  The presence of the species represents an adaptation to Cuban waters and constitutes a positive perspective for shrimp culture.


Giana Bastos Gomes (,  a doctorial student and social media officer for the ARC Prawn Breeding Program in Australia, reports: I’ve attached a good background report on the giant tiger shrimp.  You can check it out here.


Ashutosh Mohanty (, a shrimp farmer in the state of Odisha, India, reports: I can confirm that P. monodon definitely prays upon other weaker and smaller shrimp species.  Some shrimp farmers here stock non-SPF postlarvae from local hatcheries that may contain a mix of species.  Consequently, we have seen giant tiger shrimp praying on white shrimp.


Jennifer Hill (, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Marine and Freshwater Ecology Lab, Louisiana Tech University, Louisiana, USA, reports: In cooperation with the Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama, I have been doing work with live tiger shrimp and their interactions with native shrimp species.  So far we have found that, although tiger shrimp will chase and attempt to consume other penaeid shrimp, they are largely unsuccessful, especially with adult penaeids.  Their success rate is better with juvenile penaeids, but based on our work so far, penaeids aren’t their preferred food.


We are looking for shrimpers from Pensacola, Florida, to eastern Louisiana, to help us retrieve live tiger shrimp, so we can continue our work.  We will be offering bounties for live tiger shrimp.  We are planning a press release soon.


Source: Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International, July 19, 2015.

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