Thousands of dead fish washed up in Seabrook, Texas, this weekend. Authorities say there is no cause for concern, despite the fact that the community sits on the coast of Galveston Bay, where a barge leaked thousands of gallons of tar-like oil in March.
Residents in the Seabrook-Kemah area told KTRK-TV they have never seen or smelled anything like the thousands of rotting shad washed ashore there.
"It just stinks really bad," Yesenia Compean told the news channel. "You had to cover your nose when you walk by there."
"Never seen nothing like that in my life," said Edward Hinojosa, who spends most of his weekends in the Kemah area.
In March a barge carrying 900,000 gallons of oil collided with a tanker and overturned in the Houston Ship Channel, creating an oil slick 12 miles long in Galveston Bay. Officials estimated 168,000 gallons of oil were spilled into the water.
But the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department say the shad incident is “not uncommon” and that the fish died because of “oxygen depletion.”
Thousands of dead anchovies were found in Southern California’s Marina del Ray last weekend and state wildlife officials also attributed it to oxygen depletion. They say the fish likely sought refuge in the harbor from a "predator species," became trapped and depleted all the oxygen in the water there.
“Once in the harbor, the fish school became trapped, and subsequently depleted all of the available oxygen in the water,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Janice Mackey told the Los Angeles Times.