Nearly 4 million fish killed by winter storm along Texas coast
AUSTIN - Nearly four million fish along the Texas Coast were killed during the historic winter storm last month.
At least 3.8 million fish were killed, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
The fish kill consisted of at least 61 species, which included non-recreational species like Silver Perch, Hardhead Catfish, Pinfish, Bay Anchovy and Striped Mullet. They accounted for 91% of the total dead.
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According to TWPD, non-game fish are "ecologically important, providing food for larger game fish as well as adding to the overall diversity of Texas Bays."
Recreationally important game species accounted for the other 9% of the mortality total. The dominant species included are Spotted Seatrout, Black Drum, Sheepshead, Sand Seatrout, Red Drum, Gray Snapper, and Red Snapper.
Both the Upper and Lower Laguna Madre bays were hit particularly hard by the winter storm. The Lower Laguna Madre had the highest mortality of Spotted Seatrout with an estimated 104,000 fish killed.
Similarly, the Upper Laguna Madre saw an estimated 82,600 Black Drum fish killed.
While last month's freeze impacted a large area of the Texas coast, the overall number of fish killed seems to be lower than any of the three freeze events in the 1980s, which killed almost 32 million fish.