Here’s a new unwelcome resident of the Treasure Coast. The Asian Tiger Prawn, otherwise known as the Asian Giant Shrimp – which sounds like a contradiction in terms. It joins a long list of invaders that includes the python, the wild hog and the lionfish. Two giant shrimp have been found in the Indian River Lagoon. One in Vero Beach in April, and one in Hobe Sound in September. Only two? Scientists with the University of Florida Sea Grant program at the Indian River Research and Education Center in Fort Pierce fear there could be many more. The giant shrimp grow and multiply quickly. They can measure up to 12 inches and weigh up to 12 ounces. They out-feed, and even devour, smaller shrimp and can carry a viral disease that spreads into the native shrimp population. The giant shrimp came from the Pacific Ocean via ocean currents or in the ballast water from ships. Or maybe from shrimp farms closer to our region. They are one of the world’s most widely farmed shrimp species. It’s no wonder. The giant shrimp – whether from a farm or captured in the wild – is delicious. While other shrimp should watch out for the Asian Giant Shrimp, the Asian Giant Shrimp should watch out for us. Mmmmm. We humans sure do love jumbo shrimp. For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.
Treasure Coast essayist Paul Janensch was a newspaper editor and taught journalism at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.