FREEPORT, Texas (KPEL News) - Residents in Freeport, Texas, woke up this weekend to discover thousands of dead fish had washed up on a nearby beach.

According to local media reports, a spokesperson with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said the fish kill was due to what is being described as a "low dissolved oxygen event." What's more, that could be affecting tens of thousands of fish in the area.

Officials said the species most impacted was Gulf menhaden, adding that these events are common in the summer when temperatures increase.

If there isn't enough oxygen in the water, fish can't "breathe," the department explained.

Before a kill event occurs, the fish will usually try to get oxygen by gulping at the water's surface early in the morning.

A Reddit user posted a video of the beach and the dead fish to the social media site.

The media reported the death of tons of fish, which covered the edge of a beach in the US state of Texas, which wildlife officials described as a result of low dissolved oxygen.
by u/arbiyanews in texas

There are several videos and pictures that have been posted online from the weekend, when the fish kill was first spotted at the beach, leading some to be concerned.

Fish Kills Are Extremely Serious

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries warns that fish kills like this typically occur during the summer. However, while some worry about the effects of climate change, LDWF says that isn't as much of a factor as local conditions in the water.

A fish kill is a common but complex phenomenon. Contrary to popular belief, fish kills are seldom caused by pollution or other human activities. Instead, changes in environmental factors such as temperature, dissolved oxygen, salinity, and acidity are often to blame for fish kills. Changes in some of these factors might not be lethal by themselves, but when combined, can cause a fish kill. In many reported fish kills, it is not possible to determine the cause.

If you happen to notice a fish kill in Louisiana, you need to call your local agency to report it promptly. The number for your local agency can be found on the map below.

Credit: Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Credit: Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

According to LDWF, you need to be prepared to report as much of the following information as possible:

  • Your name, email address, and phone number
  • Date and time you noticed the fish kill
  • Specific location of the fish kill (parish, waterbody, landmark, and/or GPS coordinates)
  • Approximate number of fish and species
  • Estimated date the fish kill occurred
  • Whether fish are still dying
  • Other agencies you contacted.

Other useful information:

  • Is aquatic vegetation present? How much?
  • Was the fish kill man-induced (commercial fishing in the area, any evidence of pollution such as an oil sheen, etc.)?
  • Photos
  • Is the site accessible by land or boat only?

Be as informative as possible, as it can really help these agencies out.

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