It’s possible that hundreds of dead fish washed up on the dunes of Texas’ Gulf Coast this week, shocking beachgoers.
KSAT, a CNN affiliate, reports that a couple strolling along Quintana Beach in the vicinity of Freeport saw fish dispersed over the coast for kilometers.
I had hoped to take advantage of the calm seas and reel in a limit of speckled trout quickly, but no such luck befell me. According KSAT, Darrell Schoppe, whose Facebook video of the fish went viral.
Videos and photographs shared on social media showed mounds of primarily tiny fish coating the beach’s edge during what wildlife officials have characterized as a “low dissolved oxygen event.”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that the Gulf menhaden has the highest fisheries production in the Gulf of Mexico, making it one of the species most hit by this fish kill.
Lerrin Johnson, a spokesman for Texas Parks and Wildlife, told CNN that the agency’s Kills and Spills Team, Region 3, has been looking into the situation on the coast.
The group of biologists investigates fish and animal deaths caused by pollution and natural disasters.
During the warmer months of the year, “fish kills like this” are regular, as stated by Johnson.
“If there isn’t enough oxygen in the water, fish can’t ‘breathe,'” she continued.
According to Johnson, low dissolved oxygen levels are a common occurrence in many environments.
Quintana Beach County Park superintendent Patty Brinkmeyer told CNN that she estimates “hundreds of thousands” of fish had washed up on a six-mile length of beach since Friday morning.
Brinkmeyer remarked that the school of fish appeared to be drifting in a single, horizontal line. “It resembled a very large blanket.”
She has been employed by the park for 17 years, and this is just the third occasion she has seen fish washing up on the coast.
On Saturday, Brinkmeyer proclaimed, “This is by far the most” she had ever seen.
Warmer sea waters near Quintana Beach may have led to the death of menhaden, according to a Facebook post by park officials.
Before fish kill events occur, wildlife officials say fish can often be seen attempting to gulp at the water’s surface for oxygen during early morning hours.