Red Tide Rising on Lower Gulf Coast

| October 23, 2009

Red Tide menaces Texas fisheries

I am getting e mails from friends along the coast about the Red Tide being on the increase down south. Here is the report from Texas Parks and Wildlife.
Current Status

October 22, 2009

Aerosols have decreased today at Mustang Island State Park south of Port Aransas. Last night’s high tide cleaned off the beaches a bit, pushing the dead fish from the shoreline back to the dunes. This morning fresh dead fish began washing ashore along the beaches, including finger mullet and small ladyfish; old dead fish that likely died offshore are washing in as well. A reddish foam can be seen in the surf but it is unclear whether this is due to the red tide.

Several sites were visited around the South Padre Island area today. Red tide cell counts remain relatively high from south of Port Mansfield to the beaches in town, where aerosols were noticeable this morning. Fresh dead fish continue to wash up along the beaches. Additional dead fish have been seen floating in the lower Laguna Madre north of the Queen Isabella Causeway, though it is possible that these were brought in with the tide through Brazos-Santiago Pass.

Aerosols were also noticeable at Port Isabel yesterday afternoon.

A cool front approaching the coast today will shift winds from the southeast to the north. This could lessen aerosol symptoms for beachgoers and possibly keep the red tide from moving any further north along the coast.

Reports from Mexico indicate that the red tide extends south to La Pesca, but not as far as Soto de Marina. The state of Tamaulipas has closed shellfish harvest from the Rio Grande to Tampico. The road to the beach at Playa Bagdad (Washington Beach) is closed to traffic because of the red tide.

October 21, 2009 afternoon

Texas Parks and Wildlife staff were out on the water today in Corpus Christi, Port Mansfield and South Padre Island.

The team working Corpus Christi Bay near Naval Air Station Corpus Christi reported throat irritation and coughing due to the red tide aerosols but saw no discolored water or dead fish.

A second team surveyed the back side of Mustang Island, Packery Channel, the JFK Causeway area and the Upper Laguna Madre along the Intracoastal Waterway. Aerosols were milder than they have been in recent days and no fresh dead fish were found in Packery Channel or along the back side of southern Mustang Island. Some of the homeowners’ canals along the Upper Laguna Madre and near the Whataburger on Padre Island were visited as well; aerosols were found but no fresh dead fish.

The third team was dispatched to the Port Mansfield area. Mild aerosols and stressed gizzard shad were encountered in the lower Laguna Madre near Port Mansfield. A small fish kill was investigated along the northern shore of Mansfield Pass that was comprised of hardhead catfish, mullet, spot croaker, and spotted seatrout. Densities were approximately 30 fish per 15 yards. Large numbers of birds feeding on the dead fish in the pass.

Moderate aerosols and cell counts continue to be found along the South Padre Island beaches and at the windsurfing flats. Many of the fish that were stranded yesterday along the beaches up to the Mansfield Pass appear to have been picked up by the tide and moved south. No fresh dead fish were found along the beaches today.

-To read the Red Tide Status Report-

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Category: Gulf Coast Report, Texas Gulf Coast

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Comments (11)

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  1. shannon says:


    Red Tide Update 10/29/09

    Reports from Corpus Christi and Aransas Bay are suggesting that no Red Tide is evident in those bays. Water samples from Aransas Bay show no cell counts of Karenina brevis.

    Mustang Island State Park reports that no dead fish have washed up onto the beach today. The surf is running high and aerosols are very prevalent in the air and causing a great deal of irritation.

    Along Padre Island National Seashore there is a continuous line of red foam and the aerosols level is quite high. High winds and high tides made surveying the beach for new dead fish difficult but no fresh-dead fish were seen along Access Road 3, Bob Hall Pier, or North Beach Access Road at PINS.

    Karenina brevis cells continue to be observed at Port A pier and cell counts are now in the moderate to high range.

  2. shannon says:

    I think it’s safe to say we are on the downside of this event. If our weather in North Texas is any indicator, cooling temperatures could help wind this down to some extent. However, a big thank you to tarpondog for up to minute reports, and keep us in the loop should things change. TFC

  3. Tarpondog says:

    Red Tide Update 10/28/09

    TPWD has received a number of reports of successful fishing in the bays. The red tide has been affecting the gulf beaches, but for the most part has stayed out of the bays. Reports from the lower Laguna Madre indicate that fishing success remains consistent and that flounder and trout continue to be caught from the area. TPWD biologists observed people catching fish yesterday at Packery Channel and no aerosol effects.

    TPWD photographer Chase Fountain rode along on yesterday’s overflight, capturing some impressive images of the bloom. Some of his photos can be seen on the TPWD Red Tide Updates page.

    The Texas Department of State Health Services collected water samples from 18 sites around the Aransas Bay area yesterday, including the Port Aransas jetties, Lydia Ann Channel, Mud Island , the Rockport and Fulton harbors, Long Reef, Copano Bay , and the Port Aransas marina. All tested negative for red tide with the exception of the UT pier at the Port Aransas jetties, where low concentrations of cells were found.

    Mustang Island State Park reports no dead fish washed up on their beaches today, but the strong southeasterly wind is causing rough surf and slight aerosols.

    Low to moderate aerosols and varying concentrations of red tide cells continue to be found today around the South Padre Island area. Dead fish, mostly hardhead catfish, were washing ashore on the town’s beaches this morning. Dead fish were also seen floating in Brazos-Santiago Pass. Aerosol is still in the air and increases in strength as the sun shines. It is at its lowest in the predawn hours which allows for early morning walks.

  4. Tarpondog says:

    Red Tide as of 10-27-09
    After repeated weather delays, the coastal overflight has been completed. No signs of any bloom were seen off Matagorda Island but a suspicious patch was noted near Cedar Bayou. There is a patch of bloom occurring nearshore along the southern portion of San Jose Island near the jetty. No indications of offshore blooms were found in the area.

    No fresh dead fish are on the beaches of Mustang Island State Park today and no aerosols are being reported. However, the overflight found one continuous stretch of red tide bloom extending from southern Mustang Island into Mexico . The bloom is approximately one-half to one mile offshore. Fish kills were seen inside Mansfield Channel and Brazos-Santiago Pass with the dead fish extending out to approximately one mile offshore. It looks as if the fish are being pushed onto the beaches south of the passes.

    Flying over the bays, biologists did find two areas of suspected bloom, at the mouth of the Corpus Christi Inner Harbor and in the Vinson Slough area of Aransas Bay .

    Red tide cell concentrations were high today around the South Padre Island area. However, the town of South Padre Island reported no fresh dead fish along the beaches this morning. Biologists visited Boca Chica today and found no aerosol effects, though birds were seen feeding offshore. Dead fish from last week’s fish kill are still on the beaches. Aerosol is still present on the Island but effects vary with individuals. Asthma sufferers should bring a mask.

    Despite the red tide, fishermen report success in the lower Laguna Madre near the mouth of the Arroyo Colorado.

  5. shannon says:

    Well, I wish I could be more help. Let us know what you find out. Shannon

  6. Doris Sparenberg says:

    Thanks, Shannon. Didn’t find any info at either of those papers. There is just very little information period about this thing. I have decided not to go to SPI tomorrow because I have recently recovered from some respiratory illness and don’t need any more problems in that area. Some others are still going, so I will be interested to see what they report when they return on Saturday.

  7. shannon says:

    I am communicating with my friend down there and hope they reply here. Did you check the Harlingen or Brownsville newspapers online?

  8. Doris Sparenberg says:

    Planning a trip to SPI tomorrow. Are the aerosols still high? Any advice?

  9. shannon says:

    Glad to help out! I think this event could be over soon. No telling how far inland it reaches. I am still amazed by the lack of coverage. TFC

  10. carol says:

    This is really a great article for us snow birds waiting to winter in Texas. My husband suffers from lung problems and waiting untill the air clears from the dead fish.Great Info. on the Red Tide….

  11. shannon says:

    Sounds like the Chamber of Commerce is keeping a lid on this one.
    From the Valley:
    “Just got information stating that a buddy drove up the beach last night and saw over 50 tarpon most over 5.5′ lying on the beach. Said, hundreds of reds, blacks huge flounder and thousands of mullet, hardheads and ladyfish completely covered the beach in some areas. What a shame. The red tide is super strong this year. Not as bad as I have seen it but definitely coming in a strong second. The news is not really covering it as the town of SPI does not want this info to get out as it hurts tourism. ”

    Sounds like that party is over

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