Over the past couple of weeks, the city of Seabrook, TX , as well as other neighboring cities, have dealt with the lingering effects of a fish kill along the shores of Galveston Bay.
While there is always a certain sea faring odor associated with living along the water, it is usually a salty aroma that makes one want to read Ernest Hemingway novels in a smoking jacket wearing a captain’s hat, while eating black licorice rope and sipping iced tea while Nat the lighthouse keeper helps guide the ships safely to port.
Of course, even Nat and Papa Joe himself would have turned their noses at the smell of thousands of dead bait fish washed upon the shore.
According to Texas Parks and Wildlife officials, the fish kill is likely being caused by low oxygen levels in the water. Putting on my Ry the Science Guy hat, low oxygen levels can be caused by many naturally occurring things such as algae blooms and other factors that make it hard for the fish to “breathe” under water.
In an official statement released by the city of Seabrook, residents were notified that the region’s Kills and Spills Team (KAST) was on top of the situation and that fishing was discouraged in areas where fish carcasses have accumulated due to health concerns.
Let me just pause for a minute from this regularly scheduled column to say that a Kills and Spills team sounds like they would tell great stories at parties.
Now back to our main story.
I can only speak for myself, but usually the sight of thousands of dead fish “carcasses” in a given area is pretty much going to discourage me from fishing there without needing to have the city tell me.
While there is never a good time for a fish kill, having one during Memorial Day weekend makes the fine folks at the local tourism office a little squeamish as they try to kick off the summer tourism season.
With seaweed of biblical proportion washing up a bit further to the south, there really are no odor free beaches and waterways for one to visit for the time being.
In time, nature will take its course and the salty Hemingway smells will once again return to the shores as the numbers of dead fish and seaweed subside.
While the fish kill is currently limited to mostly smaller fish, time will tell if larger fish in the food chain will start to die off with so many of their food sources killed off. As the animated lion and his friends taught me through song, it is all part of the circle of life.
Speaking of fish kills and singing lions, there is a similar circle of life within the ranks of professional baseball where each big fish club is only as strong has its minnows, err Minor League clubs.
Teams with a healthy level of oxygen and prospects throughout the system tend to thrive, while the clubs with a weaker farm system tend to flounder.
Much like seasonal fish kills, the ebbs and flows of the haves and have nots in baseball also seem to be cyclical with each team rising and falling with the tides depending on how strong their farm systems are.
The good news for fans of teams such as the Astros, and others who are in rebuilding mode, is that while the product on the field at times may stink during the rebuilding years, it never affects the noses of fans in the same way that thousands of dead bait fish will do.
Of course, if one ever happened to see a Kills and Spills Team visit their Ballpark, odds are the situation is a bit more serious than first thought. It might be time for a fan to “fish” elsewhere for awhile.
So, while the residents along Galveston Bay will have to wait a little longer to don those smoking jackets and break into the licorice, at least they know that the fish are sure to disappear one way or the other eventually.
Until then, the birds will continue to swarm all over the free Golden Gill buffet, while residents can stay indoors with the windows closed and watch some baseball, or read some books about the sea.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to check the seals on my windows since the direction of the wind just shifted.
Copyright 2014 R. Anderson