Jubilee! Thousands of fish, crabs come ashore in Harrison County - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Jubilee! Thousands of fish, crabs come ashore in Harrison County

The season's first Jubilee occurred on the beaches of Pass Christian and Long Beach, Wednesday morning. (Photo source: WLOX) The season's first Jubilee occurred on the beaches of Pass Christian and Long Beach, Wednesday morning. (Photo source: WLOX)
At least 100 people showed up with pails and nets to scoop up flounder, crab and other species. (Photo source: WLOX) At least 100 people showed up with pails and nets to scoop up flounder, crab and other species. (Photo source: WLOX)
DMR officials say Jubilees occur when there is a lack of oxygen in the water. (Photo source: WLOX) DMR officials say Jubilees occur when there is a lack of oxygen in the water. (Photo source: WLOX)
PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) -

It's called a Jubilee, but it's not very fun for fish and crabs. Humans, though, are another story. By 7:30 Wednesday morning, fish by the thousands were washing up near the Pass Christian shoreline. The vast majority of them were still alive, at least for a little while.

"We came down here to go kayak fishing, and when we got to the beach, we saw there was a red tide going on and there were flounder and crabs and all kinds of fish all over the place," Allan Price said.

Even seagulls couldn't resist the temptation. Why do these jubilees happen in the shallow waters of the Mississippi Sound? Joe Jewell is the Marine Fisheries Director for the Department of Marine Resources.

"When we have high temperatures, we have low oxygen in the water, and that means these events usually occur early in the morning or late in the evening when the plankton hasn't had time to crack up and produce oxygen," Jewell explained.

No oxygen, but plenty of fishing nets, and a little time off from the job for Chuck Johnson.

"We're working across the street over there and we knew it was a red tide. He called up and told us, so we came over here to get some free fish. It's very easy. All you have to do is pick them up. They just flop a little," Johnson said.

Another one taking advantage of the moment was Chuck Carr.

"I was down here for a conference and riding along an I saw people picking up flounder and I decided I'd stop by and get me some."

While the dozens of fishermen who showed up at this Jubilee were excited about the event, one person who wasn't was Chuck Loftis. He's the head of the Harrison County Sand Beach Authority, and in charge of making sure Mother Nature's mess is cleaned up.

"The fish are still in the water, but some of them are washing ashore," Loftis said. "We'll wait until everything washes ashore and then we'll take them to the local landfill."

That job could last through the weekend. Loftis also said the Jubilee is impacting the entire 26 mile long sand beach, but the heaviest concentration of fish is located near the Pass Christian/Long Beach city line.

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