Posted: Mar 7, 2013 12:06 PM by Caroline Flores - email@example.com
Updated: Mar 7, 2013 6:52 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI - The drought is making an old problem in Baffin Bay even worse. Dead fish have been a problem out there for years. Now even more fish are floating up and that has residents and scientists wondering what is going on out there.
When residents near Baffin Bay look out to the water they see floating dead fish. This has been an issue for years, and now researchers are finally getting a chance to do something about it.
"It's really time we just focus all our efforts on this and try to solve the problems down there," said Project Manager Jace Tunnell.
While researchers say there are many issues that plague Baffin Bay, and many more they hope their research uncovers, there is at least one that they can't do anything about.
"There has been a big drought out there and that can have an effect on the ecosystem," said Texas A&M Corpus Christi Marine Biology Assistant Professor Michael Wetz.
The drought is leaving so much salt in the water that it's killing these clams. All these dead clams are causing a new issue for the fish who eat them... starvation.
"We're cutting open these fish and they don't have anything in their belly. The meat is jelly like. That's when we said wow there is something else going on here that we need to look at," said Tunnell.
While researchers admit they can't do anything about the drought, they hope to find out what else is going in Baffin Bay and correct it. Dr.Wetz along with his research team, a group of volunteers will begin getting water samples by April. The water will then be tested at the TAMUCC lab and researchers hope they will have answers as to why so many animals are dying in Baffin Bay.
Dr. Wetz says it will probably be at least three years until they will have any answers as to what's causing all the fish kills.
Kleberg County gave the group $11,500 dollars for start up costs. This includes equipment, supplies, and fuel for the volunteers. TAMUCC, the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program, and the Coastal Conservation Association have all donated $37,000 to keep the project up and running for the three years needed to find answers.
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