Bad for the fish, and bad for anglers, red tide has shown up on the upper Texas coast.
The Texas Department of State Health Services has confirmed a bloom of red tide in Galveston Bay. TPWD has received reports of fish kills from Sea Rim State Park, Sargent Beach and Surfside.
TPWD began receiving reports of fish kills on Friday, August 10. The reports were from Quintana Beach to the mouth of the Colorado River and included mostly Gulf menhaden with a few mentions of gafftop and hardhead catfish. Additional fish kills were reported over the weekend at Surfside Beach and Galveston; samples were collected from the Surfside jetty and San Luis Pass to look for red tide. Dead flounder and stingrays have been reported at Kemah and Bacliff. Biologists originally thought that low oxygen levels were to blame, but additional investigations will be conducted to determine if red tide is the cause. In addition, fishermen reported coughing and dead fish 4 miles offshore of Galveston.
On Sunday, August 12, the Texas Department of State Health Services found varying levels of red tide in their sampling and subsequently closed the following areas to shellfish harvesting: Conditionally Approved Area 1 of Galveston Bay, the Central and East Approved Areas of Galveston Bay and the Smith Point Approved Area of Galveston Bay.
Weather permitting, TPWD hopes to conduct a coastal overflight later this week to get an aerial view of the bloom.
Sightings of dead fish or suspected red tide can be reported 24 hours a day to TPWD’s communication centers, 512-389-4848 (Austin) or 281-842-8100 (La Porte).