Dead Fish Litter Miles Of Harrison County Beach - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

08/27/04

Dead Fish Litter Miles Of Harrison County Beach

Thousands of dead fish made quite a mess along some six miles of beach in Pass Christian.

A mishap with a commercial pogey boat caused the decaying fish to wash ashore.

Sand beach crews spent the day raking and scooping smelly piles of sand. Some 150 thousand fish, most of them partially decayed, came rolling ashore. The worst of the problem was located just west of Espy Avenue in the Pass.

Heavy equipment operators tackled a stomach churning challenge. They spent much of Friday scooping up tons of sand mixed with various pieces of smelly, dead fish.

"We expected to see whole pieces of fish. But actually what we're finding are just decayed pieces," said sand beach director, Bobby Weaver.

The rolling tide churned the menhaden muck. These pieces of fish kill are the result of problems aboard a pogey boat, which lost a catch sometime Wednesday.

Wednesday's mishap at sea, involving some 150 thousand fish, is Friday's trail of fish parts littering the shoreline.

"The area we've been able to define is from the Long Beach Harbor to the Pass Christian Harbor. Probably six miles. One way or the other. A six or seven mile area that's impacted right now," Weaver explained.

As awful as the mess looked, it smelled even worse. And a strong south east breeze pushed the pungent odor past the beach and across Highway 90.

The odor alone was enough to drive any beach visitors away. A sign made certain.

"We've temporarily put some signs up just to notify the public. You know, a beach closure basically," Weaver said.

The tons of fish tainted sand will be hauled off to the landfill. Crews are also counting on a little help from Mother Nature and the Mississippi Sound.

"A lot of it we've got to depend on the tide. And how the tide helps us in the clean up is important," said Weaver.

Omega Protein is the menhaden company responsible for the fish kill. A company representative told Bobby Weaver that Omega will reimburse Harrison County for the cost of the clean up.

By Steve Phillips

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