BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — State wildlife and fisheries officials are asking shrimp harvesters to report catches of Asian tiger prawns.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says there is little known about the effects of tiger prawns on indigenous Louisiana shrimp. But, officials say the reports they're seeking will help state biologists monitor the distribution of the prawns and determine the possible presence of spawning populations.
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 too.
The department asks that harvesters retain the prawns by freezing and contact the state with the date, location and size of capture. Photos also are encouraged.
Prior to the 2011 fall inshore shrimp season, reported captures in Louisiana waters numbered fewer than 25, with none taken any farther westward than Vermilion Bay. However, since then, 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. It is uncertain whether this is due to population stabilization or under reporting by the public," the department said in a news release Thursday.