The dead fish stretched from the mouth of the Brazos River to several hundred yards to the east.
The city’s assistant manager made the discovery during a routine check Wednesday afternoon.
“As I made my way down there I could tell there was an abundant smell as well,” Arispe recalled.
“The sheer amount when I got there, it was shocking.”
People in Freeport are waiting on the state to determine the exact cause of the die-off. Right now the city and seasoned fishermen suspect red tide, a natural phenomenon that produces high level of algae that can lower oxygen levels and add toxins to the water.
“Lots of dead fish, hardly any bait in the water,” Cameron Duhon of Freeport said. “The fish are few and far between. The fishing ain’t no good right now.” The water isn’t dangerous for humans but the city is urging people to stay away for now. That includes fishermen who are concerned because Wednesday they started noticing larger game fish like flounder and trout washing up as well. They say it could take months to rebuild a suitable level of fish.
“Man, maybe a year and a half, two years if this keeps up this bad,” Duhon said. “Because all the game fish washing in, the population’s going to have to build back up right here.”
“If it keeps up it’s going to get worse and worse, start killing everything,” fellow fisherman Tyler Byrne said.
The city will only shut down the beach in a state of emergency and the kill has not reached that level. Inspectors with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Division are expected to travel to Freeport on Thursday to try to determine the cause. Red tide has been confirmed along the Texas coast in several locations over the past week from South Padre Island to Corpus Christi.