“…the fish kill was investigated and it was determined to have been caused by a low dissolved oxygen event.”
Tens of thousands of dead Menhaden fish washed up on the shores of Brazoria County over the weekend.
It happened because of a lack of oxygen in the water:
“According to the Kills and Spills Team in Region 3, the fish kill was investigated and it was determined to have been caused by a low dissolved oxygen event. The species most impacted was Gulf menhaden. Fish kills like this are common in the summer when temperatures increase. If there isn’t enough oxygen in the water, fish can’t “breathe.” Low dissolved oxygen in many cases is a natural occurrence. Daily variations in dissolved oxygen concentration are attributed to photosynthesis and aerobic respiration. Increased dissolved oxygen during the day is a result of photosynthesis which is driven by sunlight. Photosynthesis stops at night and may slow down on cloudy days, but plants and animals in the water continue to respire and consume free oxygen, decreasing the dissolved oxygen concentration. 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.”
Katie St. Clair, the sea life facility manager at Texas A&M University at Galveston, told KHOU, “this phenomenon affects schools of fish the most.”
The low waves also helped move and keep the fish on the beach.
The county rakes up the fish and buries them in the dunes. This action helps the fish to “become compost, which serves as a health park of the ecosystem for the dune grass.”
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