December 9, 2008
When Kemp Toomer of Bluffton, S.C. caught this jumbo shrimp, his “crewman jumped back from the pile because he was scared of it,” Payne remembered with a laugh. “It was big and black and snapping. … He had never seen a shrimp that color and that size. It was new to him.”
It’s unclear exactly where the Asian tiger shrimp came from, but these record size shrimp have been caught off South Carolina over the last few weeks. Other Asian tiger shrimp sightings range from Florida to N.C., Alabama, and Louisiana.
“As far as I know, no one in this country is cultivating (them). There have been a number of (tiger) shrimp farms in the Caribbean. … With all the storms down there, one possibility is ponds have been breached and these things have gotten out.” – SCDNR marine biologist David Knott
Another possibility is that the Asian tiger shrimp is what remains from a stocked pond that accidentally released shrimp back in ’88 at the SCDNR-operated Waddell Mariculture Center in Bluffton.
SCDNR isn’t calling the lobster sized shrimp an invasive species since the Asian tiger shrimp aren’t causing harm to any other species, but then again, that’s what the Asians thought when kudzu came into America over 50 years ago.
When you have a shrimp as big as a lobster, hopefully it will give a spike to the South Carolina shrimping industry – we sure could use one!