While red tide recently has been observed in parts of the Texas coast, it hadn’t been found along Mustang Island, at last report.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is working with other agencies to monitor a red tide event along the upper Texas coast and the Lower Laguna Madre, according to a news release issued by parks and wildlife on Monday, Sept. 25.
Red tide was confirmed near Freeport on Sunday, Sept. 3, the release said. Low to moderate concentrations have been detected near Freeport and at the Texas City Dike.
The bloom is suspected to have caused fish kills at San Luis Pass, Surfside Beach and the Quintana/Freeport Channel.
In the Lower Laguna Madre, low concentrations of red tide have been found in water samples from Good Hope Circle Beach and at the Gulf beach in Cameron County, the news release said.
At press time (Monday, Sept. 25), there were “no reports of red tide” in the Coastal Bend, according to a part of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s website that provides updates on the red tide situation.
Red tide is caused by a naturally occurring microalgae that produces a toxin affecting the central nervous system of fish, causing paralysis and the inability to breathe. As a result, red tide blooms often cause dead fish to wash up on beaches.
When red tide algae reproduces in dense concentrations, or “blooms,” it’s visible as discolored patches of water, often reddish in color.
The last red tide occurrence in Texas was in 2018, taking place in the upper and middle coast.
People who are near the water during red tide outbreaks may experience irritation of the eyes, nose and throat as well as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.
People with existing respiratory illnesses such as asthma may suffer from the symptoms more severely.