BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Harrison County beach vendors call it bad timing. Typically the beaches are packed on the Fourth of July. However, with lots of dead fish continuing to wash up, vendors worry the stench might keep people away.
Harrison County Sand Beach crews are cutting the grass and picking up trash as they do ahead of any holiday weekend. This Fourth of July, crews have the added job of cleaning up the aftermath of a jubilee.
On Wednesday, I could smell the strong odor of dead fish while walking on some portions of the Biloxi beach. Beach vendors assured me the smell was far more tolerable than it had been over the last few days. Beach vendor Damien McKeown described the scene earlier in the week.
"When all of our customers saw that they kind of, they all decided to leave," said McKeown. "The smell was pretty bad."
All day Wednesday sand beach crews traveled up and down the coastline picking up stingrays as quickly as they could. The problem is that workers need them to first wash ashore.
"We're doing all we can down here to help out the crews that are down here. We've walked around and picked up as many as we can by hand," McKeown said. "The machines can only get so much you know, they can't go too much in the water where a lot of it's at but they're doing what they can. They'll need a lot more people doing it by hand to get everything."
Beach vendors said Wednesday's crowds were smaller than the typical day before Independence day. They're concerned about how business will be on Thursday.
"If the smell continues, might have way less customers that we have right now," McKeown said. "The smell has definitely gotten better since yesterday and the tide helped out taking a lot of the fish away from the beach."
Harrison County Sand Beach Director Chuck Loftis said crews will be back out picking up fish on Thursday in the area between Debuys Road and the Coliseum.