Last week was really bad! There were dead fish all over the beaches and with dead fish comes a terrible stink! Thankfully the Red Tide has subsided and the beaches are again enjoyable and back to normal.
We decided to write this blog about what Red Tide is and how it does affect the beaches and most importantly us! Knowledge is power and understanding what this unfortunate spectacle is will help our guests and readers better understand Red Tide.
Red Tide has been around forever and is a common microscopic algae, scientifically termed Karenia brevis or K. brevis. When these algea are found in high concentrations they are termed as blooms and can have the water appear to be red, light or dark green and even brown. This species of algae is a naturally occurring organism that is likely to always be present at low concentrations in the Gulf of Mexico. The blooms usually occur in late summer, or early fall and can last days, weeks and even months. These bloom locations are constantly changing due to the wind conditions.
These blooms produce a toxin called brevetoxin, which affects the central nervous system of animals. When this is ingested by the fish you will find them dead floating in the water or laid up on the beaches.
If you bring your pets to beach, it’s important to literally keep them on a short leash and probably left at home. The dead fish on the beach could cause your furry friends respiratory issues and if consumed, a much worse ending.
As for us humans, Red Tide affects the respiratory system. Common symptoms are coughing, sneezing, and watery, itchy-burning eyes. Because this affects allergies, most over the counter anti-histamines will help treat these symptoms. Those who are easily bothered by allergies might want to avoid the beach during this time as to not disrupt their health.
One more thing about Red Tide is a concern of seafood consumption. The Brevetoxin is heat stable and not killed during the cooking process. The good news about shrimp and crabs (crustaceans) or shell fish, are not affected by the red tide. We would strongly advise not to eat any fish found dead or floating in the water!!! Finfish that are caught live are safe to eat after being gutted and as for other seafood found in restaurants and grocery stores they are safe also.
If you love oysters, clams and mussels, it’s best to avoid these during red tide season as these lovely treats become very toxic!
All of the information about Red Tide was found at https://tpwd.texas.gov/landwater/water/environconcerns/hab/redtide/status.phtml
For current Red Tide Status Updates you can visit the above site at any time. They accurately and timely report any red tide sightings or finds.