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Large fish kill washes up on shore of Texas Gulf Coast

Thousands of dead fish have washed up on Texas’ Gulf Coast over the weekend due to what officials have called a low dissolved oxygen event. Photo courtesy of the Quintana Beach County Park/Facebook
Thousands of dead fish have washed up on Texas’ Gulf Coast over the weekend due to what officials have called a low dissolved oxygen event. Photo courtesy of the Quintana Beach County Park/Facebook

June 11 (UPI) -- Thousands of dead fish have washed up on Texas' Gulf Coast over the weekend due to what officials have called a low dissolved oxygen event.

Beaches have started to clear Sunday after two days of fish washing ashore. The number of fish believed to have been cleaned up is reportedly in the tens of thousands, according to The New York Times.

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The Texas Parks and Wildlife Kills and Spills Team said the Gulf menhaden was the species of fish most heavily impacted by the low dissolved oxygen event. A low dissolved oxygen event can be caused by the presence of excessive algae. When the algae decomposes it consumes dissolved oxygen, making it difficult for fish to absorb it. Warmer ocean temperatures create conditions that are more conducive to the presence of toxic algae.

"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,'" the team said in a statement. "Low dissolved oxygen in many cases is a natural occurrence."

Water samples were taken from along the coast and the Brazos River which feeds into the gulf. Samples showed there was "almost no dissolved oxygen" present. The agency said there is no evidence of a chemical release contributing to the fish kill.

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The Quintana Beach County Park posted that the pedestrian beach has largely been cleared as of Sunday. On Saturday, officials for the department advised to stay clear of the beach for a few days.

A 2019 report from the United Nations suggests climate change related to human activity is the cause of warming ocean waters and oxygen loss. It said that marine organisms and fisheries have been among the wildlife that have been and will be most greatly affected.

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