Non-native Asian tiger prawns have been reported in all of Louisiana’s estuarine basins and adjacent offshore waters, and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is encouraging shrimpers to notify them if prawns show up in their nets.
The impact of tiger prawns on the state’s indigenous shrimp population is not known, but LDWF biologists monitor prawn catches to determine the possible presence of spawning populations, according to a press release.
To report catches of Asian tiger prawns, contact Robert Bourgeois at firstname.lastname@example.org or (225) 765-0765 or Martin Bourgeois at email@example.com or (985) 594-4130, with the date, location and size of capture. Photographs are encouraged, the release states.
Tiger prawns are easily identifiable by their large size, dark body color and white banding found along the head and between segments of the tail. Occasionally, red or yellow stripes are present as well.
LDWF officials ask that harvesters retain the tiger prawns by freezing, and contact one of the listed biologists.
LDWF first documented the occurrence of Asian tiger prawns in Louisiana in August 2007, when a single specimen was taken by a commercial shrimper in Vermilion Bay.
Prior to the 2011 fall inshore shrimp season, reported captures in Louisiana waters numbered fewer than 25, with none taken any farther west than Vermilion Bay. However, since 2011, commercial shrimpers have reported Asian tiger prawn catches in all of Louisiana’s major estuarine basins, including adjacent offshore waters.
Reports of tiger prawns have remained between 70 and 100 over the last three years, but it’s known if this is due to population stabilization or under-reporting by the public.