Red tide's victims still cover Mississippi beaches - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Red tide's victims still cover Mississippi beaches

Walk the shoreline most anywhere on this foggy, wet December day, and your nostrils will be fouled with the indescribable and repugnant smell of red tide's victims. (Photo source: WLOX) Walk the shoreline most anywhere on this foggy, wet December day, and your nostrils will be fouled with the indescribable and repugnant smell of red tide's victims. (Photo source: WLOX)
The real beach cleanup won't come until this harmful algal bloom departs our sandy shoreline. When might that be? Right now, it's anyone's guess. (Photo source: WLOX) The real beach cleanup won't come until this harmful algal bloom departs our sandy shoreline. When might that be? Right now, it's anyone's guess. (Photo source: WLOX)
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HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

The ongoing red tide continues to leave its mark on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  And what it's depositing along the shoreline is most unpleasant.

Take a walk along the waterfront and you'll understand what we mean. Or just ask the sand beach crews, who are busy cleaning-up tons of dead fish and birds.

Beach cleaning crews have been put to the test this December battling a relentless red tide and all of the mess it washes ashore.

"We got the report on December the 11th. That was on a Friday. And we've been dealing with it every day since then," said Sand Beach Director Chuck Loftis.

Just when the crews seem to be making some headway with the clean-up, more of the nasty deposits roll ashore with the incoming tide.

"Areas that we cleaned yesterday, we're having more material washing ashore. More dead fish. So, we're kind of fighting a losing battle until we get some cold weather to do something with this algae," said Loftis.

"We've been having mainly mullet, menhaden and different species of birds, mainly ducks. And to this date, we've picked up almost 160 tons of dead fish and other debris."

"We've done all the way from Henderson Point, we started there. But we've done Biloxi-Gulfport area two and three times. Especially behind the strip area, where some of the restaurants are. Long Beach harbor, where we have some restaurants, where there's an influx of people. We're trying to take care of the fish because of the smell, with the heat. It is getting bad."

What about the future? When will this dissipate? And will these rains help knock out the red tide?

"I talked with DMR earlier and they said hopefully this rain will break some of this material up and we'll just have to see what happens," said Loftis. "Usually get this in September, July, August. But not this time of year. Usually we have enough cold weather to take care of this, but so far we haven't had that cold weather."

An official update on the red tide will come Wednesday morning when the Commission on Marine Resources will hold a special meeting at 9am. One of the agenda items is an update on this harmful algal bloom.

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved. 

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