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Marine Biologists Eye Invasive Shrimp Species As Potential Threat To Local Fish Population

NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) -- The presence of a dangerous marine organism could eventually impact the fish that we eat for dinner.

As CBS 2's Elise Finch reported, scientists are working to determine whether invasive shrimp that have been found along the East Coast are a threat to our fish supply.

They are tiny, mostly clear, and look like the grass shrimp that are native to the New York area, but their bright orange spots let scientists know that they are actually invasive creatures known as Japanese Shrimp.

"Things that are on your table wouldn't exist without these tiny little species that are the staple of their diet," Dr. Lauren Bergey, Marine Biologist, Centenary College explained.

The invasive shrimp have been found along the East Coast from Boston to the Chesapeake Bay, according to Dr. Bergey.

In the Tri-State area the shrimp are typically found in relatively shallow water near docks.

Scientists have been catching and studying Japanese shrimp to determine if they carry disease or prey on local shrimp.

"Can they detect and get to food faster than our native species? Can they avoid a predator better?" Dr. Bergey said, "Just like with any species that doesn't have a predator you know it could take over."

Scientists are still not sure what impact the shrimp will have on local marine life, but their research in the Tri-State area is still underway.

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