Tons of fish carcasses cleared from Hancock Co. beach - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Tons of fish carcasses cleared from Hancock Co. beach

Crews continue working to clear the fish kill in Hancock County. (Photo source: WLOX News) Crews continue working to clear the fish kill in Hancock County. (Photo source: WLOX News)
HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

Workers are cleaning up Hancock County's beach. Monday marked day two of dead fish littering the county's 11 miles of sand, but every time the fishy mess is cleared out, even more come in.

County crews ended Monday with two dump trucks full of dead fish. That's about 14 tons.

"They started showing up about a week ago, but not as many. Not on this scale," said Hancock County foreman Brian Mollere.

Department of Marine Resources officials said the fish, which may have been killed off by red tide, could have been belly up in the water for a while, and the current and southeast wind probably brought them to the county.

"The majority of the fish are starting at Washington Street to the Silver Slipper, which is about eight miles, and we'll have two crews. They'll converge in the middle and hopefully get everything up," said Mollere.

County leaders said thousands of rotting fish have been collected so far with the vast majority of them being black drum. DMR said the black drum, which are bottom feeders, travel in schools, which could be why so many are showing up.

"We are not sure about tomorrow. So, we'll see. The tide brought them in last night. Hopefully it brought the rest of them in that was out there. The fish looked like they had been floating for a while," Mollere added.

In the meantime, DMR workers are taking samples to determine the toxicity levels in the water. Because of Monday's weather conditions, crews were only able to get samples on the shoreline, but they are going to get more samples further out near the islands on Tuesday. DMR is hopeful the waterways will bounce back with colder weather, rain and choppy waters to help break up the toxins.

The company the county contracts to maintain the beach has been called off this job. That's because officials say cleaning up dead animals is not in their contract.

All dead fish are being brought to Pecan Grove Landfill in Harrison County.

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