Major Redfish Mortality Event Reported

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Major Redfish Mortality Event Reported

On Sunday March 20th, the [Alabama] Marine Resources Division began to receive information on a fish kill event comprised almost exclusively of adult red drum. Reported locations of the dead fish ranged from Point Clear and other locations on the Eastern Shore to Fort Morgan, Dauphin Island and Grand Bay. It is difficult to determine the cause of this fish kill. We contacted our partners at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and Alabama Department of Public Health to determine if the fish kill was a result of a harmful algal bloom. Our partners had collected water samples last week and determined their samples indicated low counts of organisms which have been known to kill fish. The fish floating in the water or washing up on area beaches are in advanced stages of decomposition which makes it challenging to conduct any pathological examination. The dead fish do not show signs of entanglement in fishing gear and waters in Mississippi were not open to purse seines and waters in Louisiana were open to a small fishery in western Louisiana. A fish kill consisting primarily of red drum is not unusual as Alabama has previously experienced red drum mortality events in the spring but those have typically occurred in late April or early May. There are currently no health advisories for consumption of fish, but it is always a good practice to thoroughly cook your catch. If you catch a large red drum with lesions or observe a large red drum with abnormal swimming behavior please collect it, immediately store it on ice and call Marine Resources – Dauphin Island: (251)861-2882 or Gulf Shores: (251)968-7576.

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