Thousands of Dead Fish on Beaches from Shrimp Season

Reported by: Ryan Mahan
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Updated: 6/20/2014 7:29 pm
With thousands of tourists expected to be on the Gulf Coast this weekend, our beaches should be lined with people, but some beach spots are a little fishy.

Benjamin Rieben just moved to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Friday, he took time to enjoy the sun and sand on Biloxi Beach and expected to take in the salty Gulf air, but his trip was cut short. Rieben says, "You can smell it from the parking lot right over there. The wind blows it right in your face and you instantly smell it." Rieben is referring to dead fish along the shoreline. Rieben also says, "You know, most beaches there’s a few dead fish here and there, but I came yesterday and there seemed to be thousands all along the shore."

The smell alone would be enough to deter most people from enjoying a day at the beach, but why exactly is this happening? News 25 spoke to the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (M.D.M.R.) to find out." Rick Barris, Director of the Shrimp and Crab Bureau, says, "It’s not an unusual event. It does happen every year around the open of the shrimp season. For the past couple days, the majority of the fleet has been working off the beaches and unfortunately there is some by catch associated with the shrimp fishery."

By catch in this case are fish that are unintentionally hauled in by shrimp boats. The M.D.M.R. says once the initial rush of shrimp season passes, things will die down and get back to normal. For now, workers with the county's Sand and Beach Department are picking up the unwanted fish, but visitors have an advisory for anyone who hits up the beach.

Dan Harvey, a beach-goer, says, "If you want a clear spot at the beach, bring a rake.” Tara Shorter, another beach-goer, says, “Yeah, it’s not very appealing. I was kinda’ hoping for a better day at the beach, but no. We're gonna’ find a pool at the hotel."

68° Clear Feels Like: 68° F
High: 86° F
Low: 67° F
Wind: ENE 3 mph

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