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Thousands of dead fish wash up on beach leaving locals confused

Tom Wood

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Thousands of dead fish wash up on beach leaving locals confused

Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Quintana Beach County Park

Thousands of fish washed up on a beach in Texas after a bizarre phenomenon left them starved of oxygen in the water. Here's a video to give you an idea of the scale of the disaster.

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It required a huge clean-up operation to remove the small fish from the shoreline, and – if you have a look at the video and pictures – you will start to get an idea of the sort of job they had on their hands.

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Also, as the fish started to rot in the summer air, you can only imagine what the smell must have been like on there.

Heaven help anyone who was actually out there attempting to get rid of the fish from the beach.

It all started on Friday at Bryan Beach when the Menhaden fish - and some others, including at least one small shark - started washing up in huge numbers.

The fish washed ashore by the thousands. Credit: Facebook/Quintana Beach County Park
The fish washed ashore by the thousands. Credit: Facebook/Quintana Beach County Park
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A few miles down the coast in the Quintana Beach County Park, they started to take note of what was happening.

It turned out that the whole thing was caused by a 'low dissolved oxygen event’ that was caused by warm sea water.

You see, warm water can’t hold as much oxygen as cold water, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department ‘Kills and Spills’ team said in a statement.

The team from the nearby county park also released a number of updates on the fish kill, explaining: “When water temperature rises above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, it becomes hard for menhaden to receive enough oxygen to survive.

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“Shallow waters warm more quickly than deeper, so if a school of menhaden are trapped in the shallows as the water begins to heat, the fish will start to suffer from hypoxia.”

It wasn't just Menhaden fish that came ashore. Credit: Facebook/Quintana Beach County Park
It wasn't just Menhaden fish that came ashore. Credit: Facebook/Quintana Beach County Park

When the fish start struggling with the low oxygen, they start to act strangely and panic, which only serves to deplete the oxygen further.

It’s not actually that uncommon for this to happen during summer, but the sheer scale of this fish kill is shocking nonetheless.

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What’s more, cloudy weather could have contributed to creating the ‘perfect storm’ of oxygen depletion, as cloud cover stops microscopic phytoplankton and macroalgae from photosynthesising.

The officials continued: “Often before a kill event occurs, fish can be seen trying to get oxygen by gulping at the surface of the water early in the morning,

“Some fish may also be lying on the bottom or at the edge of the water.”

Teams worked seriously hard to remove the fish. Credit: Facebook/Quintana Beach County Park
Teams worked seriously hard to remove the fish. Credit: Facebook/Quintana Beach County Park
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By Sunday, after more fish continued to wash up, park officials said that most of them had ‘deteriorated to the point of being shredded skeletons’.

Crews from the park turned up to help remove the rotting carcasses with machinery, and any that remain will likely be buried in the sand or taken away by the ocean pretty quickly.

Let’s hope so, anyway.

Topics: News, US News, Weird, Animals, Science

Tom Wood
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