SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) – Scientists say a warm winter may have given a head start to a shrimp-killing parasite.
Savannah Morning News reports researchers found a shrimp with black gills during a June 21 cruise.
Shrimp with black gills are infected with a parasite that can weaken or kill them, especially as water grows warmer and holds less oxygen.
Marc Frischer of the University of Georgia’s Skidaway Institute of Oceanography says it’s only the second time that shrimp with visible black gill have been observed in June. He says live shrimp collected are also dying at a high rate “suggesting that we are in the midst of a mortality event.”
Frischer says warmer winters, possibly caused by climate change, appear to lead to smaller shrimp catches the following fall.