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Red tide detected in Packery Channel, cause of fish kill undetermined

Posted at 10:29 AM, Sep 13, 2018

Texas Parks and Wildlife says that red tide is present in the Packery Channel basin. The confirmation comes after hundreds of dead fish washed ashore in the area.

Clay Tree frequently fishes at Packery Channel. He says the fish kill is hard to ignore.

“Within just a matter of minutes, there was plenty of heads popping up. It was like you’re at the zoo and you’re feeding koi fish and it’s just at ton of fish coming up at once, trying to get air,” he told KRIS 6 News.

Researchers are still investigating whether red tide is the cause of this fish kill, although it’s a common sign of the toxic algal bloom.

Michael Wetz of the Harte Research Institute at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, said, “Under the right conditions, it produces a really nasty toxin that’s bad for marine life and it can be harmful to humans as well.”

State officials say the fish may have been killed because of low oxygen levels in the water because of runoff from the recent heavy rains. With more rain headed our way because of the disturbance in the Gulf, researchers say the impact it will have on the red tide bloom is still unclear.

“It might be that all that freshwater might kill it off but, on the other hand, it dumps a lot of nutrients that red tide might actually like,” Wetz explained. “So I would say in the next week or so, we’re really going to know what’s going on with it.”

So far, Texas Parks and Wildlife is only confirming red tide in Packery Channel Basin. Teams have also tested water samples from Bob Hall Pier and Mustang Island State Park.