The out of control bloom of algae also known as red tide is now in South Padre Island.
Many fish have washed up on the beaches.
But is it safe for you?
The phenomenon known as red tide is naturally occurring. This happens when microscopic algae produce a toxin that affects fish. They become paralyzed and unable to breathe.
Test show there is this alga on the northern side of South Padre, near beach access 6. Experts say there is nothing we can do to stop this red tide.
It happens seasonally sometimes depending on the conditions… It can cause fish kills where dead fish wash up. It can also cause discoloration in the water. That’s where the name comes from, says South Padre Island Shoreline Management Director Patrick Barrineau.
According to Texas Park and Wildlife it’s OK to eat shrimp, fish, and crab that you catch during red tide season. You may want to stay away from shell fish and oysters. Under no circumstances should you eat any fish that winds up dead on the beaches.
Barrineau says, “If the surf is high, then it will be more irritating for people. Even folks that are normally not bothered by it may be bothered by it. If the surf is down, then it will probably not be as bad for most people.”
People with asthma, respiratory problems are most likely to suffer from this Red Tide. Those with pets are asked to keep them away if possible.
This year Cameron County implemented a new flag. It is an orange triangle. It warns visitors of environmental hazards.
Cameron County Beach Patrol Chief Michael Johnson says, “It’s really broad. It’s designed for anything like bacteria in the water…. red tide falls into that category.”
Red tide is known to be unpredictable. It can last days, weeks, or months. The beach patrol states they update their advisories daily.
“If the red tide disappears tomorrow the flags will come down,” says Johnson.
The City of South Padre Island states it is safe to go out to the beaches.
Those concerned about this red tide can wear a surgical mask as a filter.