Note: This item is more than 10 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references.
Red Tide Causing Minor Fish Kills Along South Texas Coast
AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials believe isolated fish kills observed this week along the lower Texas coast can be attributed to red tide.
"Our conclusion is that there is not a large red tide bloom along the South Texas coast," says Dave Buzan, a scientist with TPWD Coastal Fisheries who heads the agency's marine Kills and Spills Team. "Red tide is likely present but only in small patches and only causing intermittent relatively small fish kills. There is no evidence at this time that there will be a major bloom impacting Texas beaches. We will continue to monitor the situation."
On Monday, Sept. 12, Tony Reisinger, Cameron County marine extension agent, discovered low levels of the microscopic algae Karenia brevis commonly called red tide in water samples collected along Boca Chica beach. Dead fish, mostly baitfish like menhaden and mullet, were discovered from Boca Chica beach to the south jetties at Brazos Santiago Pass. TPWD conducted an aerial reconnaissance of the area the following day and discovered two small patches of discolored water three miles offshore from the Texas coast, one halfway between the mouth of the Rio Grande and Brazos-Santiago Pass and the other about 13 miles up the coast from South Padre Island, but saw no evidence of additional fish kills. By Thursday, Sept. 15, red tide had moved closer to shore and red tide concentration levels had increased in water samples taken from Isla Blanca Park at the south end of the island. Residents of South Padre Island reported respiratory irritation consistent with the presence of red tide aerosol.
The red tide alga is a naturally-occurring organism that produces a toxin that affects the central nervous system of fish so they are paralyzed and cannot breathe. As a result, red tide blooms often result in dead fish washing up on Gulf beaches. When red tide algae reproduce in dense concentrations or "blooms," they are visible as discolored patches of ocean water, often reddish in color.
Updated information on the current red tide situation in Texas, as well as background information on red tide and how it affects people and fish, is on the TPWD Web site.
The last red tide occurrence in Texas was in April 2002.
On the Net:
Publication — Permission is granted to publish, in whole or in part, any news releases on this page.
Print — A print-friendly version of the news release shows only the release with font sizes set to the browser default.
Plain Text — Plain text versions of TPWD news releases are provided for copying and pasting into editing software.
To copy text into an editing software:
- Click a Plain Text link to display the plain text page in your browser.
- Select all.
- Paste in a document in your editing program.
Permalink — This is a direct link to the news release, omitting the navigation context from the URI.
English/Spanish — News releases posted in both English and Spanish have one of these links.
If you have any suggestions for improving these pages, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and mention Plain Text Pages.