GALVESTON — Hundreds of dead fish washed ashore Friday, concentrating mainly along two stretches of seawall beaches, but work crews had most of them removed by late morning, an official said.
Friday’s fish kill was minor when compared with the hundreds of thousands of Gulf menhaden that washed ashore this time last summer, Galveston Island Beach Patrol Chief Peter Davis said.
Maintenance crews and Davis’ supervisor alerted him Friday morning to the Gulf menhaden, which mostly littered areas at 37th Street and between 59th and 61st streets.
“This is typical late summer stuff,” Davis said. “They’re apparently the most sensitive fish we have in the area, so when the oxygen levels get a little bit low, they’re the first thing that will go.”
Davis speculated that flat water and calm winds or an algal bloom led to a reduction in dissolved oxygen.
“Our maintenance guys got down there really early and cleaned up the bulk of them, and the tide has left a few more of them,” Davis said.
There were no dead fish spotted on Galveston’s east end or west end, Davis said.
Crews picked up about seven bags of fish earlier in the morning, but a few hundred washed ashore after that, mostly east of 61st Street, Davis said.
Beach-goers seemed unaffected by the scattered fish as dozens of seagulls feasted on the bounty.
Friday’s fish kill paled in comparison to the one last year during the second weekend of August, when moderate concentrations of red tide, a neurotoxic algal bloom, left hundreds of dead fish decomposing on Galveston’s West End beaches and the shoreline along Galveston Bay.