Thousands of dead fish have accumulated in the water alongside Island Road in Isle de Jean Charles, and officials suspect low dissolved oxygen levels are the cause.
Bourg resident Rita Chaisson said she noticed the fish Saturday afternoon when she and her family went to go fishing and crabbing.
“You couldn’t even count them,” she said. “They were about five feet wide from the bank. Redfish, flounder, speckled trout, catfish, some perch, drum, all kinds of fish.”
Jason Adriance, finfish program manager for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, said the fish kill was reported to the department and officials are monitoring the situation.
He believes an algal bloom, or a rapid increase or accumulation in the algae population, caused a drop in the water’s oxygen level.
“Algal blooms occur naturally,” he said. “We’ll go out, we’ll monitor, we’ll collect samples, and we’ll also notify other agencies – DEQ and the like.”
Adriance said the state Department of Environmental Quality could better comment on whether the fish kill poses a danger to residents. However, the department could not provide answers by Tuesday night, so the Courier and Daily Comet will follow up.
Chaisson said she and her family go fishing every week and have never witnessed such a sight near Island Road.
“This is the worst that we’ve ever seen it,” she said. “We’ve seen fish that people have caught and they died. I was shocked to see that all these beautiful fish were dead like that.”
She believes the fish kill poses a health hazard and said the stench is awful.
“People go crabbing regardless,” she said. “They could get sick from that being in the water, especially if they’ve got cuts. We see people going into the water up to their waist. People throw the cast nets to catch shrimp and everything. They make their living like that, and it’s being sold to the public. If that stays there and contaminates the water, you’re going to have people that are going to be sick.”
Courtesy of dailycomet.com