Texoma fish kill linked to golden alga
State fisheries biologists from
Oklahoma and Texas are working together to investigate a fish kill
in the five-mile area between Cedar Mills and Highport Marina on the
Texas side of Lake Texoma. Biologists have confirmed that golden
alga is to blame.
Initial estimates place the loss at upwards of one half million
fish, based on fisheries surveys conducted along the Big Mineral Arm
of the reservoir March 12. Threadfin shad, an abundant forage fish,
comprised the vast majority of the kill, but some largemouth bass,
crappie and bluegill were also affected. Fisheries biologists had
been monitoring the 89,000-acre reservoir for possible spread of the
toxic golden alga since a fish kill back in January in the Lebanon
pool in upper Lake Texoma was traced to golden alga.
Texas fisheries biologists were the first to discover a golden alga
fish kill in inland waters in the Western Hemisphere when a fish
kill was identified in the Pecos River in 1985. Since 2001, golden
alga fish kills have occurred on 23 reservoirs in Texas. The toxin
has also been linked to subsequent fish kills in North Carolina,
South Carolina and New Mexico. Lake Texoma is the first reported
finding in the Red River basin downstream of Lake Kemp, located
southwest of Wichita Falls, TX.
Golden algal blooms typically occur in winter months, often leaving
a golden yellow ring around the lake shoreline. Golden alga (Prymnesium
parvum) is native to estuarine habitats around the world. It is not
known if the alga is a native or exotic species to inland waters.
“This fish kill is of particular concern due to the fact that it
took place in the main body of the lake, while the first kill was in
the more isolated Lebanon Pool,” said Paul Mauck, south central
region fisheries supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife
Conservation. “When the alga blooms it kills fish by releasing
toxins into the water that cause fish gills to hemorrhage. The good
news is that there is no evidence to suggest the toxins are a threat
to human health.”
To learn more about golden alga log on
www.tpwd.state.tx.us/hab<. The site includes a wide variety of
information about harmful golden alga blooms, including scientific
research updates, frequently asked questions and up-to-date news.
Anglers who observe fish dying in a particular area of the lake can
report their observations to Paul Mauck at (580) 924-4087 or to the
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s Fisheries Division at