September 8, 2013

IT HAS ME THINKING ABOUT DINNER: Invasive Asian Tiger Shrimp Species, Now in the U.S., Has Scientists Worried About Ecosystem.

Adult tiger shrimp, whose native habitat stretches from southern Japan through Southeast Asia to South Africa, are known for distinctive black stripes, can grow to the length of a man’s arm and weigh as much as a pound. While the monster shrimp are just as edible as U.S. shrimp, marine scientists are trying to figure out whether they will upset local ecosystems and possibly supplant smaller brown and white shrimp, mainstays of the U.S. shrimping industry.

I have a solution. And some people seem to be catching on already:

Tiger shrimp sightings reported by U.S. commercial shrimpers increased in 2011, and then dropped in 2012 and 2013. But scientists and shrimpers agree the decline isn’t because the tiger shrimp aren’t there.

“We don’t turn them in anymore,” said Brian Schjott, 36-year-old captain of the Mr. Fic, a Bayou La Batre-based shrimp boat. “We just eat ’em.”

Shrimping last year off the East Coast, his crew pulled in tiger shrimp that were 14 inches long, he said. “We wrapped them in bacon and grilled them with sweet-and-sour sauce,” he said.

If only all our problems were this simple. . . .