Thousands of dead Menhaden fish washed ashore on a beach in the Gulf Coast of Texas Friday morning, according to county officials.
Quintana Beach County Park said the dead fish were found at the far end of Bryan Beach, near the mouth of the Brazos River, approximately six miles down the coast from Quintana Park.
County officials said warmer water, which can’t hold as much oxygen as cooler water, was to blame for the mass fish deaths.
When water rises above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, it becomes hard for Menhaden to receive enough oxygen to survive, Quintana Beach County Park said in a Facebook post.
Shallow waters warm more quickly and if Menhaden become trapped, they will suffer from hypoxia, a state where oxygen levels are insufficient to maintain homeostasis. In these circumstances, the fish will behave more erratically, further depleting their oxygen levels.
Another reason for the lack of oxygen in the water is cloudy skies blocking microscopic phytoplankton or macroalgae from photosynthesis.
“So in a nutshell, it was the perfect storm to deplete oxygen levels inshore,” Quintana Beach County Park said.
Crews have begun the removal process but will need the tide to recede several more feet before all the fish can be removed, FOX 26 reported, citing park officials.