Red Tide Reported on N. Padre and Mustang Islands 9/15/2015

By Tyler Thorsen

This from the Padre Island National Seashore Some bad news for potential fall park visitors… Unfortunately the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (“NOAA”) is reporting a red tide event is beginning to spread south along the Texas Coast. Red tide is an alga that for unknown reasons periodically proliferates and multiplies into large blooms. When it reaches very high densities, the algae stains the water a reddish color and kills fish.
redtideScientifically the alga is known as Karenia brevis and the unfortunate problem with it is that waterborne toxins produced by it coat the fish’s gills and cut off their ability to extract oxygen. The result can be fish kills that in worst case scenarios can cause hundreds of thousands of dead fish along Texas beaches. A small fish kill was reported north of the park at Packery Channel late Sunday. So far the park has not experienced a fish kill. Another side effect of red tide blooms is that when concentrations reach high enough levels, the toxins in the water get aerosolized as the waves break and the wind picks it up. The resultant toxins can cause coughing and sneezing. Anyone with respiratory issues such as asthma or COPD should avoid the beach. Dogs, with their keen sense of smell can be especially sensitive. If aerosol levels are elevated enough to cause even minor breathing issues for you, you should not subject your dog to it. Park science staff are reporting elevated levels of the alga in the waters along the northern park boundary while readings a few miles south are coming in as OK. Note that the bloom is spreading from east Texas to the west and south so keep in touch with this park page for the latest updates so that you can make the best decisions about your visit. If conditions worsen, additional information will be posted.

(Photo credit NOAA,


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