The coffee-colored shrimp, also known as coffee shrimp, is an invasive species that arrived in the Ebro delta from Turkish waters a few years ago. This presence may pose a risk to the native shrimp population, as has already been observed in other Mediterranean regions such as Italy’s Gulf of Taranto.
The brown shrimp: a species with multiple impacts
For a few months now, fishermen in the delta have been catching coffee prawns and selling them along with local prawns and white prawns at the market.
The Ebro delta: a scene of diversity of invasive species
The Ebro delta has had to deal with several invasive species in recent years, with effects that vary in severity on the region’s ecosystem and economy.
Impacts of the invasive species
A recent example is the blue crab, which has caused significant damage to fishing nets and severely damaged the delta’s most vulnerable habitats and species. However, the situation of the coffee shrimp is different.
The brown shrimp: a species appreciated by fishermen
According to Patrícia Pardo, associate professor at the Catholic University of Valencia and professor at the IEPAAC (Estudis Professional Aquícoles y Ambientals de Catalunya), the brown lobster, despite being an invasive species, is valued by fishermen.
Pardo points out that most of the large individuals are found in the open sea, while the smaller ones live closer to the coast. Unlike the blue crab, catching these individuals does not cause damage to fishing nets and allows fishermen to sell more product without problems.
Distinction between white shrimp and coffee shrimp
Although brown shrimp and white shrimp are species that can be legally traded, they are sold indiscriminately at the market. Both are species that can be traded and their only difference lies in their geographical distribution.
From a culinary point of view, both the white shrimp and the coffee shrimp have practically identical gastronomic properties. Studies carried out by the Department of Climate Action and the Catalan Research Institute for Sea Governance (ICATMAR) are helping to confirm the presence of a new species of prawn in marine and brackish waters of the Terres de l’Ebre.
Although young specimens are being investigated on the coasts, indications are that the trend will continue to be the same for the coming months.